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Surplus Appropriation from R&D and Health Care Technology Assessment Procedures

  • Tomas J. Philipson
  • Anupam B. Jena

Given the rapid growth in health care spending that is often attributed to technological change, many private and public institutions are grappling with how to best assess and adopt new health care technologies. The leading technology adoption criteria proposed in theory and used in practice involve so called "cost-effectiveness" measures. However, little is known about the dynamic efficiency implications of such criteria, in particular how they influence the R&D investments that make technologies available in the first place. We argue that such criteria implicitly concern maximizing consumer surplus, which many times is consistent with maximizing static efficiency after an innovation has been developed. Dynamic efficiency, however, concerns aligning the social costs and benefits of R&D and is therefore determined by how much of the social surplus from the new technology is appropriated as producer surplus. We analyze the relationship between cost-effectiveness measures and the degree of surplus appropriation by innovators driving dynamic efficiency. We illustrate how to estimate the two for the new HIV/AIDS therapies that entered the market after the late 1980's and find that only 5% of the social surplus is appropriated by innovators. We show how this finding can be generalized to other existing cost-effectiveness estimates by deriving how those estimates identify innovator appropriation for a set of studies of over 200 drugs. We find that these studies implicitly support a low degree of appropriation as well. Despite the high annual cost of drugs to patients, very low shares of social surplus may go to innovators, which may imply that cost-effectiveness is too high in a dynamic efficiency sense.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12016.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12016
Note: HC IO
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  1. Alan M. Garber, 1999. "Advances in Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Health Interventions," NBER Working Papers 7198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tomas Philipson, 1999. "Economic Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases," NBER Working Papers 7037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Meltzer, David, 1997. "Accounting for future costs in medical cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 33-64, February.
  4. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  6. Weinstein, Milton C. & Manning, Willard Jr., 1997. "Theoretical issues in cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 121-128, February.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521833165 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Johannesson, Magnus & Weinstein, Milton C., 1993. "On the decision rules of cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 459-467, December.
  9. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 2006. "The Impact of Increased Utilization of HIV Drugs on Longevity and Medical Expenditures: An Assessment Based on Aggregate U.S. Time-Series Data," NBER Working Papers 12406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521540674 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. David Meltzer, 1997. "Accounting for Future Costs in Medical Cost-Effectiveness Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Mansfield, Edwin, et al, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-40, May.
  13. William D. Nordhaus, 2004. "Schumpeterian Profits in the American Economy: Theory and Measurement," NBER Working Papers 10433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Garber, Alan M. & Phelps, Charles E., 1997. "Economic foundations of cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-31, February.
  15. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Y. Richard Wang, 2006. "Intellectual Property and Marketing," NBER Working Papers 12577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Manning, Richard L, 1994. "Changing Rules in Tort Law and the Market for Childhood Vaccines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 247-75, April.
  17. Mansfield, Edwin, 1985. "How Rapidly Does New Industrial Technology Leak Out?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 217-23, December.
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