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Does Misery Love Company? Evidence from pharmaceutical markets before and after the Orphan Drug Act

  • Frank R. Lichtenberg
  • Joel Waldfogel

With substantial fixed costs of drug development, more common conditions can support more products. If additional pharmaceutical products are beneficial, they will attract greater consumption and promote better health, e.g. greater longevity. We ask how market size measured by condition prevalence affects consumption and longevity. We document in condition cross sections that both the tendency to use a drug and longevity are higher for individuals with more prevalent conditions. We also make use of the 1983 Orphan Drug Act (ODA), which promoted development of drugs for the treatment of rare conditions. Longevity and drug use have grown more quickly for persons with rare diseases and even more quickly for persons with conditions with substantial orphan drug use.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9750.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9750.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9750
Note: HE
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  1. Steven Berry & Joel Waldfogel, 1996. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency in Radio Broadcasting," NBER Working Papers 5528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  3. Spence, Michael, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 217-35, June.
  4. Lisa George & Joel Waldfogel, 2003. "Who Affects Whom in Daily Newspaper Markets?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 765-784, August.
  5. Spence, Michael, 1976. "Product Differentiation and Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 407-14, May.
  6. Bresnahan, T.F & Reiss, P.C., 1989. "Entry And Competition In Concentrated Markets," Papers 151, Stanford - Studies in Industry Economics.
  7. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Reiss, Peter C, 1990. "Entry in Monopoly Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 531-53, October.
  8. N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
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