U.S. consumers generate more pharmaceutical revenue per person than Europeans do. This has led some U.S. policymakers to call for limits on U.S. pharmaceutical spending and prices. Using a microsimulation approach, we analyze the welfare impacts of lowering U.S. prices toward European levels, and how these impacts vary with key modeling assumptions. Under the assumptions most favorable to them, price controls generate modest benefits (a few thousand dollars per person). However, for the remainder of plausible assumptions, price controls generate costs that are an order of magnitude higher. In contrast, publicly financing reductions in consumer prices, without affecting manufacturer prices, delivers benefits in virtually all plausible cases.
Reprinted with permission from Health Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 1, January/February 2009. Copyright © 2008 Project HOPE-The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.
Originally published in: Health Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 1, January/February 2009, pp. w138-w150.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.