NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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The Geography of Prescription Pharmaceuticals Supplied to the U.S.: Levels, Trends and Implications

Neriman Beste Kaygisiz, Yashna Shivdasani, Rena M. Conti, Ernst R. Berndt

NBER Working Paper No. 26524
Issued in December 2019
NBER Program(s):, Industrial Organization, International Trade and Investment, Health Care

Prescription pharmaceuticals are frequently used consumer products, whose manufacturing location is commonly held as a trade secret by firms and U.S. regulatory agencies. Here we use previously non-publicly available data to describe levels and trends in the manufacturing locations of the most commonly used prescription pharmaceuticals, off-patent generic drugs, intended to be consumed by Americans. We find that the base ingredients required for the manufacturing of these prescription drugs are overwhelmingly and increasingly manufactured in non-domestic locations, specifically India and China. The manufacturing of finished prescription drugs for the American market is equally split between domestic and foreign locations, but is increasingly foreign as well. The growing American reliance on non-domestic manufacturing of prescription drugs is important for stakeholders to appreciate given current quality and pricing concerns involving these products and their potential susceptibility to interruptions in supply. We discuss implications of these levels and trends for current domestic and international policy discussions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26524

 
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