No dia 13 de Outubro às 13h00 tivemos a quarta edição do Seminário Virtual para investigadores em início de carreira (VERC).
Apresentadora: Carolina Santos (Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa; Nova Health Economics & Management Knowledge Center), joint work with Eduardo Costa
Título: Pricing, consumption and competition in pharmaceutical drugs: Evidence from changing drugs’ co-payments in Portugal
Resumo: Reference price regimes for prescription drugs are usually implemented with the aim of curbing public expenditure with pharmaceuticals, induce drug substitution from branded to generics drugs
and enhance competition. In these systems, patients co-pay the difference between the drug’s pharmacy retail price and the reimbursement level. Relying on a detailed product-level panel dataset of prescription drugs sold in Portuguese retail pharmacies, from 2016 to 2019, we evaluate the impact of a policy change in the way reference prices are computed, affecting 32% of the equivalent drug groups. We analyse the impact of such change on pricing strategies of pharmaceutical companies and on consumption. Results of a differences-in-differences analysis show that affected products – those subject to a decrease in their reference price – did not reduce their prices, which implied higher prices paid by patients. We found evidence of a 15% decline on branded drugs consumption and no statistically significant effect on generic drug consumption, with signicant heterogeneity across regions and therapeutics. Still, no evidence was found of increased competition in the groups affected by the policy change. Results suggest that NHS co-payments savings were partially achieved through higher out-of-pocket payments paid by patients, raising potential equity concerns.
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