IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Demand for Post-Patent Prescription Pharmaceuticals


  • Judith K. Hellerstein


This paper examines why physicians continue to prescribe trade- name drugs when less expensive generic substitutes are available. I utilize a data set on physicians, their patients, and the multi-source drugs prescribed to study the prescription habits of physicians in prescribing generic and trade-name drugs. The results indicate that almost all physicians prescribe both types of drugs to their patients. There is, however, persistence in the prescription behavior of physicians, so that some physicians are more likely to prescribe trade-name drugs, while others more often prescribe generics. While much of this persistence cannot be explained by observable characteristics of the physician or the physician's patients, patients who are treated by physicians with large numbers of HMO or pre-paid patients are more likely to be prescribed generics, and there is wide regional variation in the propensity of physicians to prescribe generic drugs. The results are most consistent with an explanation of physicians' prescription behavior based on habit persistence.

Suggested Citation

  • Judith K. Hellerstein, 1994. "The Demand for Post-Patent Prescription Pharmaceuticals," NBER Working Papers 4981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4981
    Note: HC PR

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard G. Frank & David S. Salkever, 1991. "Pricing, Patent Loss and the Market For Pharmaceuticals," NBER Working Papers 3803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ernst R. Berndt & Zvi Griliches & Joshua G. Rosett, 1990. "On the Accuracy of Producer Price Indexes for Pharmaceutical Preparations: An Audit Based on Detailed Firm-Specific Data," NBER Working Papers 3490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
    4. Butler, J S & Moffitt, Robert, 1982. "A Computationally Efficient Quadrature Procedure for the One-Factor Multinomial Probit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 761-764, May.
    5. Dranove, David, 1989. "Medicaid Drug Formulary Restrictions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 143-162, April.
    6. Gary Chamberlain, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 225-238.
    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. Stéphane Jacobzone, 1998. "Le rôle des prix dans la régulation du secteur pharmaceutique," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 312(1), pages 35-53.
    2. Ferrara, Ida & Missios, Paul, 2012. "Pricing of drugs with heterogeneous health insurance coverage," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 440-456.
    3. Ying Kong, 2009. "Competition between brand-name and generics - analysis on pricing of brand-name pharmaceutical," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 591-606.
    4. Stéphane Jacobzonne & Edouard Martin & Vincent Perrin & Julien Werle, 1997. "Une approche hedonique de la formation des prix des médicaments remboursables," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 129(3), pages 73-99.
    5. Paraponaris, A. & Verger, P. & Desquins, B. & Villani, P. & Bouvenot, G. & Rochaix, L. & Gourheux, J. C. & Moatti, J. P. AU -, 2004. "Delivering generics without regulatory incentives?: Empirical evidence from French general practitioners about willingness to prescribe international non-proprietary names," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 23-32, October.
    6. Susana Narciso, 2005. "Retailing Policies for Generic Medicines," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 165-190, June.
    7. Rika Onishi Mortimer, 1998. "Demand for Prescription Drugs: The Effects of Managed Care Pharmacy Benefits," HEW 9802002, EconWPA.
    8. Joan-Ramon Borrell & Jayashree Watal, 2002. "Impact of Patents on Access to HIV/AIDS Drugs in Developing Countries," CID Working Papers 92, Center for International Development at Harvard University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets


    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:4981. 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.