Non-Tariff Barriers and Bargaining in Generic and Off-Patent Pharmaceuticals

75 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2019 Last revised: 17 Mar 2019

See all articles by Sharat Ganapati

Sharat Ganapati

Georgetown University

Rebecca McKibbin

The University of Sydney

Date Written: March 2019


Pharmaceutical prices are widely dispersed across countries with comparable quality standards. We study two elements of this dispersion; non-tariff barriers and buyer bargaining power. Under monopoly, generic drug prices are 3-4 times higher in the United States. With 6 or more competitors, generic drug prices are similar across countries. Motivated by this, we use a bargaining model to examine two policy solutions to reduce drug prices. First, we remove non-tariff barriers to increase the number of competitors through a reciprocal approval arrangement and market entry. Second, we explore the US government's unexploited purchasing power to negotiate drug prices. Regarding Medicaid, the first measure can reduce total expenditures by 8% and the second by 18%. There are very little additional savings from doing both procedures in tandem.

Keywords: Law of One Price, Competition, Bargaining, Pharmaceuticals, Non-Tariff Barriers, Healthcare Economics, International Trade

JEL Classification: I11, F14, L44

Suggested Citation

Ganapati, Sharat and McKibbin, Rebecca, Non-Tariff Barriers and Bargaining in Generic and Off-Patent Pharmaceuticals (March 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Sharat Ganapati (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Rebecca McKibbin

The University of Sydney ( email )

Sydney, 2006

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