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Journal Article

Drug prices under the medicare drug discount card program


Abstract: In early 2004, the U.S. government initiated the Medicare Drug Discount Card Program (MDDCP), which allowed card subscribers to obtain discounts on prescription drugs. Pharmacy-level prices were posted on the program website weekly with the hope or promoting competition among card sponsors by facilitating consumer access to prices. A large panel of pharmacy-level price data collected from this website indicates that price dispersion across cards persisted throughout the program. Prices declined initially when consumers were choosing cards, but rose later when subscribers were restricted to commit to their card choices. In contrast, contemporaneous prices from online drug retailers, which were unrelated to the program, rose steadily over time, indicating that program prices evolved in a way different from the general evolution of prices outside the program.

Keywords: Medical care, Cost of; Drugs;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Part of Series: Review

Publication Date: 2008

Volume: 90

Issue: Nov

Pages: 643-666