R05/2008: Er legemidler billig i Norge? (English abstract)
By: Kurt R. Brekke, Tor Helge Holmås og Odd Rune Straume
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In this report we compare prices of pharmaceuticals in Norway with prices of similar pharmaceuticals in the following nine countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom. We have data for all pharmaceuticals within the 300 most selling (in sales value) substances in Norway for the first six months in 2007.
Based on these data we calculate volume-weighted average prices per dose for each substance at both the producer level (GIP) and the pharmacy level (AUP). We also calculate the wholesale and pharmacy margins given the difference between GIP and AUP. Based on these prices, we construct price indices for all substances, patent protected substances, and non-patent protected substances. We also run regressions, where we control for e.g. pack size, in order to test whether the cross-country price differences are statistically significant.
The main result is that Norway has among the lowest prices whether we look at the overall price index or the indices for on-patent or off-patent pharmaceuticals. This result is confirmed by our regressions. We also find that Norway has among the lowest margins. These findings are most likely due to the strict regulation of prices (and margins) in the on-patent segment combined with competition stimulating incentives in the generic segment.