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Uncertainty in the Generic Versus Brand Name Prescription Decision


  • Hellström, Jörgen

    () (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

  • Rudholm, Niklas

    () (Department of Economics, Umeå University)


This paper analyzes the impact of uncertainty concerning product quality of generic drugs on the substitution behavior of prescribing physicians. It is shown that uncertainty about the generic drug quality gives the physician a value of waiting for more information before switching to the generic version. In addition, it is shown that reducing the approval requirements for generic drugs, thereby increasing uncertainty about quality, may discourage physicians from prescribing such drugs. A small empirical study supports the theoretical findings and indicate that uncertainty about the quality of generic drugs do affect physician prescription behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Hellström, Jörgen & Rudholm, Niklas, 2003. "Uncertainty in the Generic Versus Brand Name Prescription Decision," Umeå Economic Studies 602, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0602

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fiona M. Scott Morton, 1999. "Entry Decisions in the Generic Pharmaceutical Industry," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm119, Yale School of Management.
    2. Hartley, K & Lavers, R J & Maynard, A K, 1986. "Regulation and Development Times in the U.K. Pharmaceutical Industry," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 33(4), pages 355-369, November.
    3. Fiona Scott Morton, 1997. "The Objectives of the FDA's Office of Generic Drugs," NBER Working Papers 6143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Robert McDonald & Daniel Siegel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-727.
    5. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    6. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
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    More about this item


    Pharmaceutical industry; uncertainty; real options;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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