Communication non publiée
Measuring the differences between two ''identical' products : the case of generic drugs in France
Nom de la conférence
Congrès International of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) : " What counts ? Calculation, Representation, Association"
Date(s) de la conférence
2005-06-30 / 2005-07-02
Lieu de la conférence
The mainstream economic theory generally assumes that the characteristics of the products are obvious for the consumer who can choose between any given product on the basis of prices and preferences. This simplistic presentation of product qualities is discussed by many researchers in socio-economics through the theme of measurement: How are qualities evaluated? What role do physical characteristics and price play in such an evaluation? These questions are particularly striking when the compared products are presented like identical in composition, as it is the case for the generic drugs in France. The French authorities legally defined the generic drug as identical in essence to the original drug but a myriad of small differences remain in its presentation. The consumers are assured that it is the same thing while it doesn’t look like the same thing. Who must they trust to measure the differences between generic and original drugs: the composition written on the box ? the doctor or the pharmacist ? their own body ? This question is all the more important as in the field of health self-realizing prophecies are numerous. In this paper, we would like to analyze the way in which the actors on the health field (especially pharmacists and patients) discuss the best way of measuring economic and physical differences between generic drugs and original drugs.