Estimating the shares of the value of branded pharmaceuticals accruing to manufacturers and to patients served by health systems

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Previous studies have estimated that patients served by health systems accrue 59-98% of the value generated by new pharmaceuticals. This has led to questions about whether sufficient returns accrue to manufacturers to incentivize socially optimal levels of R&D. These studies have not, however, fully reflected the health opportunity costs imposed by payments for branded pharmaceuticals. We present a framework for estimating how the value generated by new branded pharmaceuticals is shared. We quantify value in net health effects and account for benefits and health opportunity costs in the patent period and post-patent period when generic/biosimilar products become available. We apply the framework to 12 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence appraisals and show that realized net health effects range from losses of 160%, to gains of 94%, of the potential net health benefits available. In many cases, even in the long run, the benefits of new medicines are not sufficient to offset the opportunity costs of payments to manufacturers, and approval is expected to reduce population health. This cannot be dynamically efficient as it incentivizes future innovation at prices which will also reduce population health. Further work should consider how to reflect these findings in reimbursement policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalHealth Economics
Early online date2 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. Health Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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