IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mcm/sedapp/70.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Reference Pricing of Cardiovascular Drugs on Health Care Costs and Health Outcomes: Evidence from British Columbia--Volume I: Summary

Author

Listed:
  • Paul V. Grootendorst
  • Lisa R. Dolovich
  • Anne M. Holbrook
  • Adrian R. Levy
  • Bernie J. O'Brien

Abstract

Objective: We estimate the effects of Reference Pricing, a drug cost control policy introduced by the BC Ministry of Health Pharmacare program in 1995, on its program expenditures for seniors, out of pocket costs paid by its senior beneficiaries, indicators of beneficiary health status and attendant Ministry of Health expenditures on physicians and hospitals services. Rationale: Reference pricing (RP) limits the reimbursement of a group of drugs with similar therapeutic effect but different active ingredients to a fixed "reference price". The setting of the reference price varies by jurisdiction but typically is based on an average of the lowest cost "reference standard" drugs within the group. Critics of RP contend that the partially subsidized and fully subsidized (reference standard) drugs are not therapeutically interchangeable, and therefore patient health will be compromised and use of other non-pharmacologic health services may increase as a result, thus partially or wholly offsetting any potential cost savings from the policy. Findings: The application of RP to 3 groups of cardiac drugs produced annualized savings to Pharmacare of about $7.7 million, or 3.6% of the $213.7 million that Pharmacare spent on drugs for seniors (not including dispensing fees) in 1997. The additional costs for physician consultations were modest, around $500,000 in the subsample of seniors we studied, from the introduction of the RP plans to March 1998, although the costs could be greater, perhaps up to twice this amount, if we accounted for all seniors exposed to the RP over the same period. We found no effects of RP on mortality, or premature admission to a longterm care facility. Seniors using the nitrate drugs for angina that were no longer fully subsidized when RP was introduced faced a higher probability in the short run of using medicines to deal with acute exacerbations of angina and in the longer run having bypass surgery or other revascularization procedures. No long run effects of morbidity were observed for the application of RP to two different types of anti-hypertensive medications, although there was a short run increase in the rate of revascularizations among those taking 1 type of anti-hypertensive: the ACE inhibitors. The results of these morbidity models should be seen as tentative, until these results can be replicated using alternative estimation strategies. Conclusions: The introduction of RP can indeed reduce Ministry of Health drug expenditures. The effects of RP on patient morbidity remain to be fully investigated before definitive policy recommendations can be offered.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul V. Grootendorst & Lisa R. Dolovich & Anne M. Holbrook & Adrian R. Levy & Bernie J. O'Brien, 2002. "The Impact of Reference Pricing of Cardiovascular Drugs on Health Care Costs and Health Outcomes: Evidence from British Columbia--Volume I: Summary," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 70, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:70
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/sedap/p/sedap70.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alwyn Young, 2001. "Demographic Fluctuations, Generational Welfare and Intergenerational Transfers," NBER Working Papers 8530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Chiara Bonassi & Laura Magazzini & Fabio Pammolli & Massimo Riccaboni & Nicola Carmine Salerno, 2007. "Il prezzo di riferimento nel quadro regolatorio del mercato farmaceutico," Working Papers CERM 04-2007, Competitività, Regole, Mercati (CERM).
    2. Paul Grootendorst & David Stewart, 2006. "A re-examination of the impact of reference pricing on anti-hypertensive drug plan expenditures in British Columbia," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(7), pages 735-742.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    reference pricing; prescription drugs; ACE inhibitors; calcium channel blockers; nitrates; pharmaceutical cost control; seniors; user fees;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:70. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/demcmca.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.