Multiple policies to enhance prescribing efficiency for established medicines in Europe with a particular focus on demand-side measures : findings and future implications

Godman, Brian and Wettermark, Bjorn and van Woerkom, Menno and Fraeyman, Jessica and Alvarez-Madrazo, Samantha and Berg, Christian and Bishop, Iain and Bucsics, Anna and Campbell, Stephen and Finlayson, Alexander E. and Fürst, Jurij and Garuoliene, Kristina and Herholz, Harald and Kalaba, Marija and Laius, Ott and Piessnegger, Jutta and Sermet, Catherine and Schwabe, Ulrich and Vlahovic-Palcevski, Vera V. and Markovic-Pekovic, Vanda and Voncina, Luka and Malinowska, Kamila and Zara, Corrine and Gustafsson, Lars L. (2014) Multiple policies to enhance prescribing efficiency for established medicines in Europe with a particular focus on demand-side measures : findings and future implications. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 5. 106. ISSN 1663-9812 (

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Introduction: The appreciable growth in pharmaceutical expenditure has resulted in multiple initiatives across Europe to lower generic prices and enhance their utilization. However, considerable variation in their use and prices. Objective: Assess the influence of multiple supply and demand-side initiatives across Europe for established medicines to enhance prescribing efficiency before a decision to prescribe a particular medicine. Subsequently utilize the findings to suggest potential future initiatives that countries could consider. Method: An analysis of different methodologies involving cross national and single country retrospective observational studies on reimbursed use and expenditure of PPIs, statins, and renin-angiotensin inhibitor drugs among European countries. Results: Nature and intensity of the various initiatives appreciably influenced prescribing behavior and expenditure, e.g., multiple measures resulted in reimbursed expenditure for PPIs in Scotland in 2010 56% below 2001 levels despite a 3-fold increase in utilization and in the Netherlands, PPI expenditure fell by 58% in 2010 vs. 2000 despite a 3-fold increase in utilization. A similar picture was seen with prescribing restrictions, i.e., (i) more aggressive follow-up of prescribing restrictions for patented statins and ARBs resulted in a greater reduction in the utilization of patented statins in Austria vs. Norway and lower utilization of patented ARBs vs. generic ACEIs in Croatia than Austria. However, limited impact of restrictions on esomeprazole in Norway with the first prescription or recommendation in hospital where restrictions do not apply. Similar findings when generic losartan became available in Western Europe. Conclusions: Multiple demand-side measures are needed to influence prescribing patterns. When combined with supply-side measures, activities can realize appreciable savings. Health authorities cannot rely on a "spill over" effect between classes to affect changes in prescribing.