Discussion Papers, Department of Economics, Universität Bern 13-03
We analyze whether the possibility for physicians to dispense drugs increases health care expenditures due to the incentives created by the markup on drugs sold. Using comprehensive physician-level data from Switzerland, we exploit the fact that there is regional variation in the dispensing regime to estimate policy effects. The empirical strategy consists of doubly-robust estimation which combines inverse-probability weighting with regression. Our main finding suggests that if dispensing is permitted, physicians produce significantly higher drug costs in the order of 30% per patient.
health care costs drug expenditures physician dispensing supply-induced demand treatment effects.