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Pharmaceutical Use Following Generic Entry: Paying Less and Buying Less

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  • Peter J. Huckfeldt
  • Christopher R. Knittel

Abstract

We study the effects of generic entry on prices and utilization using both event study models that exploit the differential timing of generic entry across drug molecules and cast studies. Our analysis examines drugs treating hypertension, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and depression using price and utilization data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. We find that utilization of drug molecules starts decreasing in the two years prior to generic entry and continues to decrease in the years following generic entry, despite decreases in prices offered by generic versions of a drug. This decrease coincides with the market entry and increased utilization of branded reformulations of a drug going off patent. We show case study evidence that utilization patterns coincide with changes in marketing by branded drug manufacturers. While the reformulations---often extended-release versions of the patent-expiring drug---offer potential health benefits, the FDA does not require evidence that the reformulations are improvements over the previous drug in order to grant a patent. Indeed, in a number of experiments comparing the efficacies of the patent-expiring and reformulated drugs do not find statistical differences in health outcomes calling into question the patent-extension policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter J. Huckfeldt & Christopher R. Knittel, 2011. "Pharmaceutical Use Following Generic Entry: Paying Less and Buying Less," NBER Working Papers 17046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17046 Note: HC HE IO PR
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aea:aejpol:v:9:y:2017:i:2:p:91-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Leemore Dafny & Christopher Ody & Matthew Schmitt, 2016. "When Discounts Raise Costs: The Effect of Copay Coupons on Generic Utilization," NBER Working Papers 22745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • M3 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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