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Patents, innovation, and the welfare effects of Medicare Part D.

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1
RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To evaluate the efficiency consequences of the Medicare Part D program.

METHODS:

We develop and empirically calibrate a simple theoretical model to examine the static and the dynamic welfare effects of Medicare Part D.

FINDINGS:

We show that Medicare Part D can simultaneously reduce static deadweight loss from monopoly pricing of drugs and improve incentives for innovation. We estimate that even after excluding the insurance value of the program, the welfare gain of Medicare Part D roughly equals its social costs. The program generates $5.11 billion of annual static deadweight loss reduction and at least $3.0 billion of annual value from extra innovation.

IMPLICATIONS:

Medicare Part D and other public prescription drug programs can be welfare-improving, even for risk-neutral and purely self-interested consumers. Furthermore, negotiation for lower branded drug prices may further increase the social return to the program.

ORIGINALITY:

This study demonstrates that pure efficiency motives, which do not even surface in the policy debate over Medicare Part D, can nearly justify the program on their own merits.

PMID:
20575239
PMCID:
PMC3988702
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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