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01.12.2014 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 9/2014

The European Journal of Health Economics 9/2014

Diffusion of pharmaceuticals: cross-country evidence of anti-TNF drugs

The European Journal of Health Economics > Ausgabe 9/2014
Kurt Richard Brekke, Dag Morten Dalen, Tor Helge Holmås
Wichtige Hinweise
The article has benefited from comments and suggestions by two anonymous referees, as well as participants at the Norwegian Health Economics conference in Bergen, 2012, and the Health Economics Workshop in Turin, 2012.


This article studies the diffusion of biopharmaceuticals across European countries, focusing on anti-TNF drugs, which are used to treat autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatism, psoriasis). We use detailed sales information on the three brands Remicade, Enbrel and Humira for nine European countries covering the period from the first launch in 2000 until becoming blockbusters in 2009. Descriptive statistics reveal large variations across countries in per-capita consumption and price levels both overall and at the brand level. We explore potential sources for the cross-country consumption differences by estimating several multivariate regression models. Our results show that large parts of the cross-country variation are explained by time-invariant country-specific factors (e.g., disease prevalence, demographics, health care system). We also find that differences in income [gross domestic product (GDP) per capita] and health spending (share of GDP) explain the cross-country variation in consumption, while relative price differences seem to have limited impact.

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