A Study of Comparative Advantage and Intra-Industry Trade in the Pharmaceutical Industry of Iran

  •  Hassan Yusefzadeh    
  •  Aziz Rezapour    
  •  Farhad Lotfi    
  •  Farbod Ebadifard Azar    
  •  Bahram Nabilo    
  •  Hassan Abolghasem Gorji    
  •  Mohammad Hadian    
  •  Niusha Shahidisadeghi    
  •  Atiyeh Karami    


BACKGROUND: Drug costs in Iran accounts for about 30% of the total health care expenditure. Moreover, pharmaceutical business lies among the world’s greatest businesses. The aim of this study was to analyze Iran’s comparative advantage and intra-industry trade in pharmaceuticals so that suitable policies can be developed and implemented in order to boost Iran’s trade in this field.

METHODS: To identify Iran’s comparative advantage in pharmaceuticals, trade specialization, export propensity, import penetration and Balassa and Vollrath indexes were calculated and the results were compared with other pharmaceutical exporting countries. The extent and growth of Iran’s intra-industry trade in pharmaceuticals were measured and evaluated using the Grubel-Lloyd and Menon-Dixon indexes. The required data was obtained from Iran’s Customs Administration, Iran’s pharmaceutical Statistics, World Bank and International Trade Center.

RESULTS: The results showed that among pharmaceutical exporting countries, Iran has a high level of comparative disadvantage in pharmaceutical products because it holds a small share in world’s total pharmaceutical exports. Also, the low extent of bilateral intra-industry trade between Iran and its trading partners in pharmaceuticals shows the trading model of Iran’s pharmaceutical industry is mostly inter-industry trade rather than intra-industry trade. In addition, the growth of Iran’s intra-industry trade in pharmaceuticals is due to its shares of imports from pharmaceutical exporting countries to Iran and exports from Iran to its neighboring countries.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the analysis can play a valuable role in helping pharmaceutical companies and policy makers to boost pharmaceutical trade.

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