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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 20554

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Lexchin J.
Prescribing and drug costs in the province of Ontario.
Int J Health Serv 1992; 22:(3):471-87
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1644510


Abstract:

The Report of the Pharmaceutical Inquiry of Ontario documented dramatic increases in the cost of the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program. This article demonstrates that the rise in ODB costs for those 65 and over is due to two factors: more intensive prescribing—physicians prescribing to the elderly more often and writing more prescriptions each time they see an elderly patient—and physicians writing prescriptions for more expensive drugs. Neither of these two changes in prescribing behavior has resulted in any demonstrable improvement in the health of the elderly. Efforts to control costs through some form of copayment or by eliminating some drugs from the ODB formulary should not be undertaken since they probably will result in a reduction in the use of medically necessary drugs. Ultimately, drug costs will only be controlled by improving the appropriateness of physicians’ prescribing.

Keywords:
Aged Cost Control Cost Sharing Decision Trees Drug Costs* Drug Prescriptions/economics Drug Prescriptions/statistics & numerical data* Drug Utilization/economics Drug Utilization/statistics & numerical data* Forecasting Formularies as Topic/standards Health Services Research Health Services for the Aged/economics Health Services for the Aged/statistics & numerical data* Health Services for the Aged/trends Health Status Humans Ontario Physician's Practice Patterns/economics Physician's Practice Patterns/statistics & numerical data* Physician's Practice Patterns/trends

 

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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963