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(2008; 5 pages)
The extent to which pharmaceutical parallel trade can contain pharmaceutical costs has been debated intensely. Although parallel import penetration is significant in many EU countries, parallel trade generates at best moderate savings to health insurance, is not necessarily associated with sustainable long-term price competition and can lead to product shortages in exporting countries and, recently, a higher probability of counterfeiting. Parallel distributors emerge as the key beneficiaries from this practice. The high transaction costs associated with parallel trade, the lack of sustainable long-term price competition and the lack of tangible benefits to patients make this practice an inefficient means of containing costs.