Policy discussions on new medicines are often focused on cost containment rather than on the benefits they produce, such as health gains and cost savings in other sectors. In this study, we identify systematic differences in policies towards pharmaceuticals between countries and calculate the welfare gains of 39 innovative pharmaceuticals introduced in the Dutch market after 1997. Welfare gains are defined as the difference between the value of a QALY gained by innovative pharmaceuticals and their costs. The review shows that there are systematic differences among pharmaceutical policies and regulations between countries. It is further found that the welfare gains of pharmaceuticals are substantial and amount to €77 per capita per year in the Netherlands. The welfare gains could be higher if institutional barriers for an efficient utilization of innovative pharmaceuticals are removed.

economic evaluation, innovative pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical policy, welfare effects
Welfare Economics: Other (jel D69), Government Expenditures and Health (jel H51), Analysis of Health Care Markets (jel I11), Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health (jel I18)
dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2011.628296, hdl.handle.net/1765/41396
Applied Economics
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Tsiachristas, A, Goudriaan, R, & Groot, W. (2013). The welfare effects of innovative pharmaceuticals: An international perspective from the Dutch experience. Applied Economics (Vol. 45, pp. 1219–1226). doi:10.1080/00036846.2011.628296