The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 477–487

The effects of rebate contracts on the health care system

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10198-013-0488-x

Cite this article as:
Graf, J. Eur J Health Econ (2014) 15: 477. doi:10.1007/s10198-013-0488-x


Group purchasing organizations gain increasing importance with respect to the supply of pharmaceutical products and frequently use multiple, exclusive or partially exclusive rebate contracts to exercise market power. Based on a Hotelling model of horizontal and vertical product differentiation, we examine the controversy around whether a superior rebate scheme exists, as far as consumer surplus, firms’ profits and total welfare are concerned. We find that firms clearly prefer partially exclusive over multiple, and multiple over exclusive rebate contracts. In contrast, no rebate form exists that lowers total costs per se for the consumers or maximizes total welfare.


GPOsRebate contractsVertical differentiation

JEL Classification


Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE)Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany