The aim of this review is to assess the current state of empirical research regarding the effectiveness of national pricing regulations of the patent-protected market for prescription pharmaceuticals. A systematic review of the published literature on pricing regulations in OECD countries was performed. We found evidence that therapeutic reference pricing may reduce pharmaceutical prices and expenditures in the short term and may lead to substitution effects towards lower-priced drugs in the short term. Apart from the above, the existing research does not provide credible evidence that the current policies have an impact on healthcare utilisation, patient access, health outcomes or R&D investments.
There is a strong need for evidence generation regarding effective pricing policies, particularly for value-based pricing policies and for non-financial outcomes.
Policy makers should systematically define the assessment of policy effectiveness during the policy formulation process. In addition, experimental research on the topic could augment the scarce amount of available evidence, especially for value-based pricing policies.Dominik J Wettstein
Appl Health Econ Health Policy 2019 04;17(2):143-162
Department of Health Sciences and Health Policy, University of Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland.
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