Reference Pricing, Competition, and Pharmaceutical Expenditures: Theory and Evidence from a Natural Experiment

41 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2010

See all articles by Kurt Richard Brekke

Kurt Richard Brekke

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Tor Helge Holmas

University of Bergen - Department of Economics

Odd Rune Straume

University of Minho - Economic Policies Research Unit (NIPE); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: November 30, 2010

Abstract

We study the impact of regulation on competition between brand-names and generics and pharmaceutical expenditures using a unique policy experiment in Norway, where reference pricing (RP) replaced price cap regulation in 2003 for a sub-sample of off-patent products. First, we construct a vertical differentiation model to analyze the impact of regulation on prices and market shares of brand-names and generics. Then, we exploit a detailed panel data set at product level covering several off-patent molecules before and after the policy reform. Off-patent drugs not subject to RP serve as our control group. We find that RP significantly reduces both brand-name and generic prices, and results in significantly lower brand-name market shares. Finally, we show that RP has a strong negative effect on average molecule prices, suggesting significant cost-savings, and that patients’ copayments decrease despite the extra surcharges under RP.

Keywords: pharmaceuticals, regulation, generic competition

JEL Classification: I11, I18, L13, L65

Suggested Citation

Brekke, Kurt Richard and Holmas, Tor Helge and Straume, Odd Rune, Reference Pricing, Competition, and Pharmaceutical Expenditures: Theory and Evidence from a Natural Experiment (November 30, 2010). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3258, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1717660

Kurt Richard Brekke (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Tor Helge Holmas

University of Bergen - Department of Economics ( email )

Fosswinckelsgt. 6
N-5007 Bergen, 5007
Norway
+47 55589238 (Phone)
+47 55589210 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.uib.no/stab/torHelge.html

Odd Rune Straume

University of Minho - Economic Policies Research Unit (NIPE) ( email )

Campus de Gualtar
Braga, 4710-057
Portugal

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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