Aspects of drug usage in a private primary health care setting : a pharmacoeconomic approach
Ledwaba, Lerato Clara
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In South Africa, significant changes in health care have taken place since the first democratic elections in 1994. The change had lead to a position of integrated service delivery with specific reference to primary health care. Increasingly in developing countries, the private sector impacts significantly on the rights to education and the highest attainable standard of health. Inappropriate prescribing e.g. prescribing a drug without an acceptable indication, specifying an incorrect dosage, schedule or duration of treatment, duplicating therapeutic agents and prescribing drugs without adequate regard to potential interactions, can cause adverse outcomes, deplete health care resources, compromise the quality of care and possible increase in health costs. One approach monitoring prescribing practices is drug utilisation review. The general objective of this study was to review and interpret aspects of drug usage patterns in a private primary health care setting, with special reference to the top ten diagnoses made and the top twenty medicine items prescribed as well as the associated costs. A quantitative, retrospective drug utilisation review as well as certain aspects of managed and primary health care, pharmacoeconomics, pharmacoepidemiology, medicine formularies and standard treatment guidelines were reviewed in the literature as a base for the study. The results of the empirical study showed that 83648 patients consulted at the nine medicentres during the study period (1 January to 31 December 2001). A total number of 132591 patient visits (consultations) were made, 140723 medical conditions (diagnoses) performed and 516177 medicine items prescribed during the study period. Analysis of medicine usage patterns and associated costs of the top ten diagnoses made and top twenty medicine items prescribed in the study population, revealed the following: The top ten diagnoses determined accounted for 29.07% of the total number of diagnoses made, . a total medicine treatment cost accounting for 32.11% in the study population, . the top twenty medicine items determined accounted for 56.23% of the total medicine items prescribed and . a total medicine treatment cost accounting for 28.63% in the study population. The highest prevalence of diagnoses made and medicine items prescribed was found in age groups 4 and 5 (Le. patients between the ages of 19 to 40 years) and was also found to be more prevalent in the female than in the male population. In completion of the research, recommendations to review the medicentres medicine treatment protocols and on provision of primary health care education were made. Reference to the investigation of environmental factors is also made.
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