We analyze changes in the willingness to substitute from prescribed pharmaceuticals to more affordable generic equivalents in response to the first experience with a substitution. Using Swedish individual-level data of prescribed and dispensed pharmaceuticals, we employ a dynamic event study and an instrumental variable approach to show that an initial substitution reduces the probability of opposing subsequent substitutions by 39 percentage points. The impact of a first substitution is especially large among elderly patients. We recommend that policy-makers target patients with a history of opposed substitution and offer additional discounts to promote substitution as long-term savings outweigh one-time costs.
Working Paper No. 1428
The Importance of the First Generic Substitution: Evidence from Sweden