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Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) Discussion Paper Series in Economics, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

No 1/2014:
Price Regulation and Parallel Imports of Pharmaceuticals.

Kurt R. Brekke (), Tor Helge Holmås () and Odd Rune Straume ()

Abstract: This paper studies the effects of price regulation and parallel imports in the on-patent pharmaceutical market. First, we develop a theory model in which a pharmacy negotiates producer prices with a brand-name firm and then sets retail prices. We show that the effects of price regulation crucially depend on whether the producer faces competition from parallel imports. While parallel imports improve the bargaining position of the pharmacy, price regulation counteracts this effect and may even be profitable for the producer. Second, we use a unique dataset with information on sales and prices at both producer and retail level for 165 substances over four years (2004-7). Exploiting exogenous variation in the regulated price caps, we show that stricter price regulation reduces competition from parallel imports. While the effect is clearly negative on producer profits for substances without parallel imports, the e€ect is not significant for substances with parallel imports. Finally, we show that stricter price regulation reduces total expenditures, but the e€ect is much stronger for substances with parallel import. Thus, our results suggest that price regulation may promote both static and dynamic efficiency in the presence of parallel imports.

Keywords: Pharmaceutical market; Price regulation; Parallel imports.; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: I11; I18; L13; L51; L65; (follow links to similar papers)

38 pages, January 10, 2014

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