The purpose of this report is to explain why many of those who are least able to afford high drug costs are those who are most frequently charged the most. This report describes the basic economic theory underlying price differentiation and, in the context of the pharmaceutical market, analyzes the role and behavior of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmaceutical manufacturers, and retail pharmacies, respectively. It also looks at a number of the criticisms that have been made of the practice of differential pricing. Finally, this report discusses various policy approaches aimed at assisting the elderly to purchase prescription drugs.
Date: January 16, 2001
Creator: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Resources, Science, and Industry Division.