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The Effect of Drug Vintage on Survival: Micro Evidence from Puerto Rico's Medicaid Program

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  • Frank R. Lichtenberg

Abstract

Using micro data on virtually all of the drugs and diseases of over 500,000 people enrolled in Puerto Rico's Medicaid program, we examine the impact of the vintage (original FDA approval year) of drugs used to treat a patient on the patient's 3-year probability of survival, controlling for demographic characteristics (age, sex, and region), utilization of medical services, and the nature and complexity of illness. We find that people using newer drugs during January-June 2000 were less likely to die by the end of 2002, conditional on the covariates. The estimated mortality rates are strictly declining with respect to drug vintage. For pre-1970 drugs, the estimated mortality rate is 4.4%. The mortality rates for 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s drugs are 3.6%, 3.0%, and 2.5%, respectively. The actual mortality rate is about 16% (3.7% vs. 4.4%) lower than it would have been if all of the drugs utilized in 2000 had been pre-1970 drugs. Estimates for subgroups of people with specific diseases display the same general pattern.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank R. Lichtenberg, 2004. "The Effect of Drug Vintage on Survival: Micro Evidence from Puerto Rico's Medicaid Program," NBER Working Papers 10884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10884
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    Cited by:

    1. Law, Michael R. & Grépin, Karen A., 2010. "Is newer always better? Re-evaluating the benefits of newer pharmaceuticals," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 743-750, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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