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Revista Española de Salud Pública

versión On-line ISSN 2173-9110versión impresa ISSN 1135-5727


CASTAN CAMEO, Susana et al. A study to minimize the cost of prescribing anti-infective drugs in two areas of basic health care. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.72, n.1, pp.33-42. ISSN 2173-9110.

BACKGROUND: Pharmaceutical costs are the main cost item in basic health care. The need to contain health care expenditure has led to the search for alternatives in this area, one of which would be to foster a prescription policy which uses the cheapest presentation for each active principle. The aim of this study was to evaluate the amount which would be saved by prescribing the cheapest alternative from a selection of anti-infective drugs. METHODS: Pharmacy prescriptions in two different health areas were analyzed using the database on turnover of pharmaceutical products for 1995. Single principle drugs with anti-infective action were selected, and for each active principle and presentation the most economic alternative was sought using the records provided by the Ministry of Health and a cost minimisation analysis was undertaken. The cost of applying this prescription policy was not considered. RESULTS: Total pharmaceutical expenditure in the areas was Ptas. 8.547bn in 1995. Expenditure on selected anti-infective drugs was Ptas. 522 million (6.1% of the total). The overall saving estimated was 7.63% (Ptas. 39,901,778). This saving was centred on the following subgroups: penicillins, quinolones, cephalosporins and macrolides. Of potential savings identified, 75% would be achieved by prescribing the cheaper alternative of 2 active principles: amoxacillin and cyprofloxacine.   CONCLUSIONS: The study shows the possibility of containing expenditure in our area and offers a basis for action in this direction. It would be advisable to increase information and training for prescribers and dispensers in order to stimulate the use of the most economical alternative of each medicament prescribed, especially in cases in which there are significant margins to be saved.

Palabras clave : Anti-infective drugs [Cost analysis]; Pharmaceutical costs; Efficacy [Basic health care].

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