Objectives: Many European countries regulate the markets for prescription drugs in order to cope with rising health expenditures. On the other hand, regulation distorts incentives to invest in pharmaceutical R&D. This study aims at empirically assessing the impact of regulation on pharmaceutical R&D expenditures. Methods: We analyze a sample of 20 leading pharmaceutical companies between 2000 and 2008. The share of sales in Europe serves as a proxy for the degree of pharmaceutical regulation. We control for other firm specific determinants of R&D such as cash flow, company size, leverage ratio, growth rate, and Tobin's q. Results: Our results suggest a nonlinear relationship between European sales ratio and R&D intensity. Beyond a threshold of 33% of sales generated in Europe, a higher presence in Europe is associated with lower R&D investments. Conclusion: The results can be interpreted as further evidence of the deteriorating effect of regulation on firm's incentives to invest in R&D.
Pharmaceutical Industry R&D investments Regulation