How is the pharmaceutical market organized and what makes it different from other markets?
Drugs are a special commodity. Used appropriately they can save lives and improve health; used inappropriately they can be harmful and even fatal. Drugs are not only costly inputs into health care services, but their availability tends to promote trust in those services. Although often self-prescribed and self-administered the reasons behind the efficacy of drugs remain a mystery to the average consumer. It is not surprising that the pharmaceutical market differs substantially from other markets.
This section describes and analyses the structure of pharmaceutical markets and identifies the key actors in them. It then explores the ways in which pharmaceutical markets differ, both from regular markets and also from health care markets.