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Regulatory ambivalence and the limitations of pharmaceutical policy in Spain



Broadly speaking, pharmaceutical policy in Spain has been unable to control either the price or the volume of drugs prescribed. Limited attempts have been made to bring together the regulation of the pharmaceutical market and policies, in pursuit of the desired goals of efficiency and quality. This paper assesses the regulation of the Spanish pharmaceutical market over the last two decades by examining regulation and policy and the available empirical evidence on their appreciable effects, and presents recommendations for policy design. Our findings suggest that policies aiming to improve efficiency and quality have not managed to contain costs, while cost-effectiveness is still overlooked. We argue that future policies should encourage broader participation in the decision-making processes and promote a higher degree of competition, especially from generic drugs.

Suggested Citation

  • Joan Costa & Jaume Puig, 2004. "Regulatory ambivalence and the limitations of pharmaceutical policy in Spain," Working Papers, Research Center on Health and Economics 762, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfses:762

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Puig-Junoy, Jaume, 2004. "Incentives and pharmaceutical reimbursement reforms in Spain," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 149-165, February.
    2. Guillem López & Joan Costa-Font & Ivan Planas, 2004. "Diversity and regional inequalities: Assessing the outcomes of the Spanish 'System of Health Care Services'," Economics Working Papers 745, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guillem Lopez-Casasnovas & Joan Costa-Font & Ivan Planas, 2005. "Diversity and regional inequalities in the Spanish 'system of health care services'," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(S1), pages 221-235.
    2. Jorgen Lauridsen & Mariluz Sánchez & Mickael Bech, 2010. "Public pharmaceutical expenditure: identification of spatial effects," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 175-188, June.
    3. Jorgen Lauridsen & Mickael Bech & Fernando López & Mariluz Sánchez, 2010. "A spatiotemporal analysis of public pharmaceutical expenditure," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 44(2), pages 299-314, April.

    More about this item


    Spain; generic penetration; reference pricing; negative lists; pharmaceutical regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L52 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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