The economics of prescription drugs versus OTC

September 26, 2005

Governments in several countries with public Pharmacare and in a few provinces in Canada are considering reclassifying some drugs from prescription to over-the-counter status. In a CMAJ essay, Lynd and colleagues comment on the economic effects of such changes.

The drugs being considered are used in a wide variety of chronic diseases. They include proton pump inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, inhaled corticosteroids, short and long-acting B2 agonists, bisphosphonates and oral contraceptives. In the UK, 100 drugs are on the Medicines Control Agency's short-list for conversion to over-the-counter status. In Ontario, 8 of these drugs account for $540 million (27%) of the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan budget. In BC, 49 of these drugs account for $266 million (44%) of total Pharmacare drug expenditures.

Delisting drugs from public health insurance programs transfers the costs of the drugs to private citizens or to their private health insurance plans. In addition to cost-savings to government programs these changes are being driven by pharmaceutical companies who can expect larger markets and increased sales. There may also be economic benefits to pharmacists who while losing prescription drug revenue would gain in volume of over-the-counter sales. Also, if the drugs were regulated to behind-the-counter status (No Public Access), pharmacists would not just dispense medications, they would have a clinical and consultative role. Visits to physicians for routine control of chronic diseases might also decline.
-end-
http://www.cmaj.ca/misc/press/pg775.pdf

p. 775 Prescription to over-the-counter deregulation in Canada: Are we ready for it, or do we need to be? -- L. Lynd

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Related Chronic Diseases Articles from Brightsurf:

High-altitude adaptations connected with lower risk for chronic diseases
High-altitude adaptations in the Himalayas may lower risk for some chronic diseases, according to a research team including faculty from Binghamton University, State University of New York, the University of New Mexico, and the Fudan University School of Life Sciences.

A vaccine against chronic inflammatory diseases
In animals, a vaccine modifying the composition and function of the gut microbiota provides protection against the onset of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases and certain metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.

World first as artificial neurons developed to cure chronic diseases
Artificial neurons on silicon chips that behave just like the real thing have been invented by scientists -- a first-of-its-kind achievement with enormous scope for medical devices to cure chronic diseases, such as heart failure, Alzheimer's, and other diseases of neuronal degeneration.

Temple scientists ID new targets to treat fibrosis -- a feature of many chronic diseases
When it comes to repairing injured tissue, specialized cells in the body known as fibroblasts are called into action.

Depression sufferers at risk of multiple chronic diseases
Women who experience symptoms of depression are at risk of developing multiple chronic diseases, research led by The University of Queensland has found.

Chronic diseases restrict the mobility of older people -- often unconsciously
Chronic diseases are a key factor limiting the mobility of older people.

Aging and chronic diseases share genetic factors, study reveals
The study published today in Communications Biology used clinical and genomic data of 300,477 British individuals from UK Biobank to show that the most prevalent chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, dementia, and some others share the common underlying mechanism, that is aging itself, and discover genetic factors associated with healthspan, also known as healthy life expectancy.

Having more than one chronic disease amplifies costs of diseases, study finds
Having two or more non-communicable diseases (multimorbidity) costs the country more than the sum of those individual diseases would cost, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Tony Blakely from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and colleagues.

Rates of chronic kidney disease, deaths outpace other diseases
An abundance of high-sugar, high-salt foods in many American diets and obesity-related health problems such as diabetes are likely driving an increase in kidney disease cases, including in young adults, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

New study evaluates efficacy of PET imaging to manage chronic liver diseases
While liver biopsies are powerful and reliable, they are also invasive, painful, limited and subject to complications.

Read More: Chronic Diseases News and Chronic Diseases Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.