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Pharmaceutical Pricing Policies in a Global Market


Executive summary | Table of contents | News releases | How to obtain this publication


ISBN: 978-92-64044142
Publication date: September 2008
215 pages, 9 tables, 36 graphs


Released on Wednesday, 24 September 2008 

OECD Health Policy Studies
Pharmaceutical Pricing Policies in a Global Market

Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, Health Division

Pharmaceutical pricing policies are designed with national objectives in mind, but are the transnational implications always taken into account?

This report assesses how pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement policies have contributed to the achievement of certain health policy objectives. It examines the national and transnational effects of these policies, in particular, their implications for the availability of medicines in other countries, the prices of these medicines, and innovation in the pharmaceutical sector.

This publication presents an analysis of comparative price levels, making use of a unique dataset to construct the most comprehensive pan-OECD pharmaceutical price index to date. It also draws upon original case studies of pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement policies in six OECD countries to provide specific examples of the impacts of policies on health system performance.


Executive Summary

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Chapter 1. Key Characteristics of the Pharmaceutical Sector in OECD Economies

  • Pharmaceutical expenditures
  • Pharmaceutical consumption and relative price levels determine pharmaceutical expenditures
  • Financing
  • The pharmaceutical industry is important in the economies of several OECD countries
  • Annex 1.A1. Distribution Mark-ups and Value-added tax for Pharmaceuticals in OECD Countries

Chapter 2. The Pharmaceutical Industry and its Activities

  • Concentration of the industry
  • Research and development
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • Pharmaceutical sales
  • Ex-manufacturer prices
  • Product life-cycle management
  • Profits of the pharmaceutical industry
  • Annex 2.A1. Price Comparisons at the Ex-manufacturer Level

Chapter 3. Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement and the Broader Pharmaceutical Policy

  • Environment
  • Coverage schemes
  • Pharmaceutical price regulation
  • Regulators, payers and purchasers use a mix of techniques for defining price levels
  • All components of the retail price of pharmaceuticals are subject to regulation
  • Many OECD countries regulate price increases and try to contain pharmaceutical expenditure growth
  • The stability, consistency and predictability of regulation
  • Other aspects of the pharmaceutical policy environment that affect the achievement of policy goals
  • Annex 3.A1. Pharmaceuticals and Intellectual Property Rights in the European Union
  • Annex 3.A2. Marketing Authorisation in the European Economic Area

Chapter 4. The Impact of Pharmaceutical Pricing Policies on Performance in Meeting Health Policy Goals

  • Promoting public health
  • The impact of pricing and reimbursement policies on pharmaceutical price levels
  • Pharmaceutical cost containment
  • Pursuing good value for money in spending on pharmaceuticals
  • Annex 4.A1. The Relationship between Retail Pharmaceutical Price Levels and Economy-wide Price Levels in OECD Countries

Chapter 5. The Impact of National Pricing and Reimbursement Practices on Prices and Availability of Medicines in Other Countries

  • National pricing policies are likely to impact the availability and prices of drugs in foreign countries
  • Manufacturers use various strategies in order to maximise net revenues in the global market and counter spill-over effects of national policies
  • There is some evidence of market entry price convergence among OECD countries

Chapter 6. The Impact of Pharmaceutical Pricing Policies on Pharmaceutical Innovation

  • Pharmaceutical R&D investment
  • Ways in which pricing and reimbursement practices contribute to trends in innovation

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