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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


ANTONANZAS VILLAR, Fernando; RODRIGUEZ-IBEAS, Roberto; JUAREZ-CASTELLO, Carmelo A.  and  LORENTE ANTONANZAS, Mª Reyes. Impact of the Royal Decree-Law 16/2012 on the Number of Prescriptions and Pharmaceutical Expenditures. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2014, vol.88, n.2, pp.233-249. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: this research aims to understand if the consequences on drug expenditures and number of prescriptions of Royal Decree-Law 16/2012 as estimated by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality (MHSSE) are similar to those found by using common statistical approaches. In addition, several models have been built to forecast the evolution of both variables for the period September 2013-December 2014. Methods: the Box-Jenkins methodology and the Box-Tiao intervention analysis were applied to data of the period 2003-13 to forecast the monthly values of the number of prescriptions and pharmaceutical expenditures. Forecasts were used in a counter-factual analysis to be compared to the actual values of prescriptions and drug expenditures. Moreover, forecasts for the period September 2013 to December 2014 were obtained to observe the impact of the policy in the future. Results: the counterfactual analysis estimated a decrease in the number of prescriptions of 12.18% and 12.83% in the pharmaceutical expenditure; these figures were 12,75% and 14,03% respectively, when the intervention analysis was used. Conclusions: the estimated reduction in the number of prescriptions for the period June 2012- August 2013 was similar to the figure offered by the MHSSE, while the reduction in the drug expenditure series was smaller. The Box-Jenkins methodology generated low forecast errors (less than 3%) what makes this procedure useful to reliably anticipate future consumptions.

Keywords : Health expenditure; Drug prescriptions; Time series analysis; Health care reform.

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