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Unpacking the effects of adverse regulatory events: Evidence from pharmaceutical relabeling


  • Matthew J. Higgins
  • Xin Yan
  • Chirantan Chatterjee


We provide causal evidence that regulation induced product shocks significantly impact aggregate demand and firm performance in pharmaceutical markets. Event study results suggest an average loss between $569 million and $882 million. Affected products lose, on average, $186 million over their remaining effective patent life. This leaves a loss of between $383 million and $696 million attributable to declines in future innovation. Our findings complement research that shows drugs receiving expedited review are more likely to suffer from regulation induced product shocks. Thus, it appears we may be trading off quicker access to drugs today for less innovation tomorrow. Results remain robust to variation across types of relabeling, market sizes, and levels of competition.

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  • Matthew J. Higgins & Xin Yan & Chirantan Chatterjee, 2018. "Unpacking the effects of adverse regulatory events: Evidence from pharmaceutical relabeling," NBER Working Papers 24957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24957
    Note: HE IO PR

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    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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