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The Effects of Drug Subsidies on Out-of Pocket Prescription Drug Expenditures by Seniors: Regional Evidence from Canada

  • Thomas F. Crossley
  • Paul Grootendorst
  • Sule Korkmaz
  • Michael R. Veall

Between 1970 and 1986 all Canadian provinces introduced some version of a prescription drug subsidy for those age 65 or over and since 1986, all the provinces have increased copayments or deductibles to some degree. Employing a first-order approximation to the welfare gains from a subsidy, we find evidence that these subsidies have been less redistributive than an absolute per household cash transfer but slightly more redistributive than a transfer that would increase each household's income by the same percentage. Such evidence may have relevance for predicting the redistributive effects of a potential national prescription drug plan for seniors in the United States.

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File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/sedap/p/sedap19.PDF
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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers with number 19.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:19
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Web page: http://www.mcmaster.ca/economics/Email:


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  1. P Grootendorst, 1999. "Beneficiary Cost Sharing Under Canadian Provincial Prescription Drug Benefit Programs: History and Assessment," Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper Series 1999-10, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
  2. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Quadratic Engel Curves And Consumer Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 527-539, November.
  3. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Lewbel, Arthur, 1996. "Tax Reform and Welfare Measurement: Do We Need Demand System Estimation?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1227-41, September.
  4. Gruber, Jonathan & Hanratty, Maria, 1995. "The Labor-Market Effects of Introducing National Health Insurance: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 163-73, April.
  5. Robinson, Peter M, 1988. "Root- N-Consistent Semiparametric Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 931-54, July.
  6. Adonis Yatchew, 1998. "Nonparametric Regression Techniques in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 669-721, June.
  7. P Grootendorst & B O'Brien & G Anderson, 1995. "On Becoming 65 in Ontario: Effects of Provincial Drug Plan Eligibility on Utilization of Prescription Medicines," Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper Series 1995-01, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
  8. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan, 1998. "Kernel Regression in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 62-87.
  9. Paul V. Grootendorst & Mitchell Levine, 2002. "Do Drug Plans Matter? Effects of Drug Plan Eligibility on Drug Use Among the Elderly, Social Assistance Recipients and the General Population," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 73, McMaster University.
  10. Leibowitz, Arleen & Manning, Willard G. & Newhouse, Joseph P., 1985. "The demand for prescription drugs as a function of cost-sharing," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1063-1069, January.
  11. Paul V. Grootendorst, 1997. "Health care policy evaluation using longitudinal insurance claims data: An application of the Panel Tobit estimator," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 365-382.
  12. Blundell, Richard, 1988. "Consumer Behaviour: Theory and Empirical Evidence--a Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(389), pages 16-65, March.
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