Miscellaneous Publications

Review of the Office of Fair Trading’s market study of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme

The OFT Report on the PPRS is 114 pages long and, collectively, the annexes add up to 924 pages. As might be expected of a text of this length, it contains a large number of different strands of argument/reasoning and covers a wide range of issues. Almost inevitably, there are inconsistencies in places, and, more avoidably (but also a very common tendency in this type of document), there are many points at which the reasoning drifts off into economic theorising that is only loosely related to the principal issues and evidence at hand.

For obvious reasons it is impossible in a review such as this to assess each and all of the elements of the Report, and some selection mechanism or filter must be applied to the material. The most straightforward way to deal with this issue is to focus upon those aspects of the analysis which the OFT itself considers to be the most significant, as indicated/revealed by what is said in the main text of the Report.

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blue tape measuring on clear glass square weighing scale
Essays in Regulation

Obesity issues and public regulation

The prevalence of obesity has featured prominently in the news alongside a range of other diet and lifestyle issues, attracting a good deal of attention from various parts of government and from other public authorities.

Regulatory reactions to the observed tendencies exhibit familiar pathologies: a repeating pattern in which (a) one of more aspects of human conduct comes to be defined as a problem (problematisation), (b) there are calls for government or a public authority to do something about the problem, and (c) the authorities oblige with simplistic actions whose wider, more diffuse consequences are frequently ignored.

Our intention is not to set out a comprehensive analysis of the relevant regulatory issues associated with the prevalence of obesity, but rather to provide an indication of how best-practice policy development might begin to approach those issues.

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