IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

European Pharmaceutical Price Regulation, Firm Profitability, and R&D Spending


  • Joseph H. Golec
  • John A. Vernon


EU countries closely regulate pharmaceutical prices whereas the U.S. does not. This paper shows how price constraints affect the profitability, stock returns, and R&D spending of EU and U.S. firms. Compared to EU firms, U.S. firms are more profitable, earn higher stock returns, and spend more on research and development (R&D). Some differences have increased over time. In 1986, EU pharmaceutical R&D exceeded U.S. R&D by about 24 percent, but by 2004, EU R&D trailed U.S. R&D by about 15 percent. During these 19 years, U.S. R&D spending grew at a real annual compound rate of 8.8 percent, while EU R&D spending grew at a real 5.4 percent rate. Results show that EU consumers enjoyed much lower pharmaceutical price inflation, however, at a cost of 46 fewer new medicines introduced by EU firms and 1680 fewer EU research jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph H. Golec & John A. Vernon, 2006. "European Pharmaceutical Price Regulation, Firm Profitability, and R&D Spending," NBER Working Papers 12676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12676
    Note: HE LE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ellison, Sara Fisher & Mullin, Wallace P, 2001. "Gradual Incorporation of Information: Pharmaceutical Stocks and the Evolution of President Clinton's Health Care Reform," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 89-129, April.
    2. DiMasi, Joseph A. & Hansen, Ronald W. & Grabowski, Henry G. & Lasagna, Louis, 1991. "Cost of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 107-142, July.
    3. Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1996. "Do (More and Better) Drugs Keep People Out of Hospitals?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 384-388, May.
    4. Giaccotto, Carmelo & Santerre, Rexford E & Vernon, John A, 2005. "Drug Prices and Research and Development Investment Behavior in the Pharmaceutical Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 195-214, April.
    5. José Manuel Campa & Ignacio Hernando, 2004. "Shareholder Value Creation in European M&As," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 10(1), pages 47-81.
    6. John A. Vernon, 2005. "Examining the link between price regulation and pharmaceutical R&D investment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 1-16.
    7. Campa, José Manuel & Hernando, Ignacio, 2004. "Shareholder Value Creation in European M&As," CEPR Discussion Papers 4400, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Ganslandt, Mattias & Maskus, Keith E., 2004. "Parallel imports and the pricing of pharmaceutical products: evidence from the European Union," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 1035-1057, September.
    9. Aktas, Nihat & de Bodt, Eric & Roll, Richard, 2004. "Market Response to European Regulation of Business Combinations," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(04), pages 731-757, December.
    10. DiMasi, Joseph A. & Hansen, Ronald W. & Grabowski, Henry G., 2003. "The price of innovation: new estimates of drug development costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 151-185, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Brekke, Kurt R. & Holmås, Tor Helge & Straume, Odd Rune, 2015. "Price regulation and parallel imports of pharmaceuticals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 92-105.
    2. Vernon, John A. & Golec, Joseph H. & Lutter, Randall & Nardinelli, Clark, 2009. "An exploratory study of FDA new drug review times, prescription drug user fee acts, and R&D spending," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 1260-1274, November.
    3. Brekke, Kurt R. & Grasdal, Astrid L. & Holms, Tor Helge, 2009. "Regulation and pricing of pharmaceuticals: Reference pricing or price cap regulation?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 170-185, February.
    4. Pierre Dubois & Olivier de Mouzon & Fiona Scott-Morton & Paul Seabright, 2015. "Market size and pharmaceutical innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(4), pages 844-871, October.
    5. Tomaso Duso & Annika Herr & Moritz Suppliet, 2014. "The Welfare Impact Of Parallel Imports: A Structural Approach Applied To The German Market For Oral Anti‐Diabetics," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(9), pages 1036-1057, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:nbr:nberwo:12676. 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: .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.