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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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4981.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4981.

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Date of creation: Dec 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4981
Note: HC PR
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  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. 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.
  3. Dranove, David, 1989. "Medicaid Drug Formulary Restrictions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 143-62, April.
  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 761-64, May.
  5. 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.
  6. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
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