Pharmaceutical industry, drug quality and regulation. Evidence from US and Italy

Atella VincenzoCarbonari LorenzoBhattacharya Jay
CEIS Research Paper
The aim of this article is to analyze the relationship between drug price and drug quality and how it varies across two of the most common regulatory regimes in the pharmaceutical market: Minimum Efficacy Standards (MES) and Price Controls (PC). We develop a model of adverse selection where a pharmaceutical company can charge different prices to a heterogeneous group of buyers for its (innovative) drug, and we evaluate the properties of the equilibria under the two regimes. We model consumer heterogeneity stemming from differences in the willingness-to-pay for drug quality, measured through ex-post efficacy. The theoretical analysis provides two main results. First, the average drug quality delivered is higher under the MES regime than in the PC regime or a in combination of the two. Second, PC regulation reduces the difference in terms of high-low quality drug prices. The empirical analysis based on Italian and US data corroborates these results.
Number: 138
Keywords: pharmaceutical market, regulation, innovation.
JEL codes: I11, O31, G18.
Volume: 6
Issue: 11
Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Revision Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2008