Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Chinese obsession with IV drips and antibiotics persists


China's National Essential Medicines Policy (NEMP) campaign has reduced the average cost of prescriptions but patients are still being prescribed too many antibiotics and given drugs by injection unnecessarily.
The findings come from a study of the impact of the National Essential Medicines Policy (NEMP) on the use of medicines in government-owned primary care institutions in Hubei province of China.
The study analysed 55 800 prescriptions from 18 primary care organizations who progressively implemented the NEMP from January 2009 to July 2011. After the campaign there was an immediate increased uptake of essential medicines of all drugs prescribed which ultimately neared 95%.
However, 68% of prescriptions included antibiotics, and there was no reduction in this overuse after the NEMP campaign. A high propotion (59%–66%) of prescription drugs were administered through parenteral routes and no reduction was found after the NEMP interventions.
Although the average number of medicines per prescription remained unchanged (nearly four), the average cost per prescription declined significantly after the NEMP interventions from ¥ 45 vs ¥ 27.
"The goals of the NEMP are partially achieved; we therefore recommend a strategic approach involving all stakeholders to comprehensively achieve all aspirations," say the authors of the study.
Read more: Health Policy and Planning

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