Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 217–241 | Cite as

Making profits working on patients’ expectations, a behavioral analysis of pharmaceutical clinical research

  • Roberto IppolitiEmail author


This paper presents a model that demonstrates how pharmaceutical companies can make profits from human experimentation by working on patients’ expectations and physicians’ inability to evaluate innovations in medical knowledge. In order to understand how profits can be made, it is important to analyze the effect the physician’s expectations have on patients, both in the enrolment process and in the collected effectiveness, as well as the nature of the physician’s interest in producing this effect. Starting from the process through which companies collect clinical evidence, the analysis will focus on the economic use of that data on the drug market and the national drug agency’s role. A model illustrates the companies’ potential opportunistic strategies as well as what the public stakeholder’s target should be. Is public intervention really necessary in order to regulate the imperfect market of drugs? In other words, taking imperfection due to the expectation process in human experimentation into account, is there another practicable path? The final normative analysis will try to answer these questions.


Pharmaceutical R&D Human experimentation Institutional Review Board Informed Consent Drug agency Medical researcher and research subject 

JEL Classification



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IEL—International Programme in Institutions, Economics & Law, Real Collegio Carlo AlbertoMoncalieriItaly

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