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The impact of the reference price system on the pharmaceutical market: A theoretical approach

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  • Anna Merino

Abstract

This article analyses the impact of the reference price system on the price-setting strategies of the pharmaceutical firms and on the level of generic usage. This model is the first to take explicitly into account the impact of the reference price mechanism on the level of competition between brand-name and generic drugs and national pharmaceutical spending. We consider a duopolistic model with one firm producing the brand-name drug, whose patent has already expired, and the other producing the corresponding generic version. We work in a partial equilibrium framework where firms set prices sequentially and consumers face heterogeneous switching costs.We show that brand producers compensate the decline of profits by selling greater quantities instead of charging higher prices, thus fostering price competition in the pharmaceutical market. This result is a consequence of both the assumption of a vertically differentiated model and the introduction of the reference price system.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Merino, 2000. "The impact of the reference price system on the pharmaceutical market: A theoretical approach," Economics Working Papers 524, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:524
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    File URL: https://econ-papers.upf.edu/papers/524.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Motta, Massimo, 1993. "Endogenous Quality Choice: Price vs. Quantity Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 113-131, June.
    2. Jorge Mestre, 2003. "Reference prices: The Spanish way," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 27(1), pages 125-149, January.
    3. Jorge Mestre Ferrándiz, 1999. "The impact of generic goods in the pharmaceutical industry," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(7), pages 599-612.
    4. Zweifel, Peter & Crivelli, Luca, 1996. "Price Regulation of Drugs: Lessons from Germany," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 257-273, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kaiser, Ulrich & Mendez, Susan J. & Rønde, Thomas & Ullrich, Hannes, 2014. "Regulation of pharmaceutical prices: Evidence from a reference price reform in Denmark," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 174-187.
    2. Brekke, Kurt R. & Konigbauer, Ingrid & Straume, Odd Rune, 2007. "Reference pricing of pharmaceuticals," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 613-642, May.
    3. repec:kap:ijhcfe:v:17:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10754-017-9216-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ghislandi, Simone, 2011. "Competition and the Reference Pricing Scheme for pharmaceuticals," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1137-1149.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Brand-name and generic drugs; pricing mechanismand switching costs;

    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
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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