Medical Regulation and Health Outcomes: The Impact of the Physician Examination Requirement
49 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2010 Last revised: 20 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 29, 2010
This paper investigates the impact on health outcomes of the regulation prohibiting physicians from prescribing drugs without a prior physical examination. This requirement could improve health by reducing illegal access to prescription drugs. But it reduces access to health care by making it more difficult for patient and physician to use many forms of telemedicine. Thus, this regulation generates a trade-off between access and safety. Our empirical results suggest that the physician examination requirement leads to an increase of approximately 14 percent in the number of days lost each month to illness and an increase in mortality rates of 0.4 percent, the equivalent of 33 more deaths per 1 million people. The magnitude of the impact is larger in rural areas, and in areas with low physician density.
Keywords: health outcomes, the physical examination requirement, safety-access trade-off, telemedicine
JEL Classification: I18, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation