Competition Policies and Consumer Welfare
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Competition Policies and Consumer Welfare

Corporate Strategies and Consumer Prices in Developing Countries

Edited by Lahcen Achy and Susan Joekes

The fundamental goal of competition law is to support productivity and innovativeness; in fact, the short-term effect of enforcement actions is often a reduction in product prices. This book reports the findings of consumer market studies into a range of goods and services in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It finds a pervasive lack of competition in those markets, which not only reduces the standard of living of consumers, including poor and vulnerable groups, but also softens the incentives on firms to improve the efficiency of their operations and the quality of their products
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Chapter 6: The distribution of pharmaceuticals in Jamaica

Kevin Harriott


Prices of pharmaceutical products have considerable implications for the quality of the consumer’s life. Poor and vulnerable population segments in developing countries have relatively high incidence of certain chronic ailments. Providing them with better access to health services is of critical importance. To a large extent, achieving this objective is associated with the availability of affordable medicines. World Health Organization (WHO) figures suggest that one-third of the developing world’s people are unable to receive or purchase essential medicines on a regular basis. Three factors explain this finding: their low income, their poor coverage by health insurance and excessive prices of medicines. Generic drugs, produced without a licence from the innovator company and marketed after the patent expiry, are usually interchangeable with brand-name products and can provide greater access to healthcare for all. Generics are frequently as effective as brand-name products and much cheaper, which often make them the only option many people can afford. The evidence shows that competition between drug companies and generic producers has led to cutting down the cost of drugs more effectively than governments’ talks with drug companies.

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