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Measuring the affordability of medicines: Importance and challenges

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Author Info

  • Niëns, L.M.
  • Brouwer, W.B.F.

Abstract

The issue of affordability of health care services remains high on the (health) policy agenda. Determining whether health care services are affordable is complex, however, as the concept ‘affordability’ is inherently normative. With a focus on measuring affordability in low- and middle-income countries, we discuss different methods used to operationalize this concept. Using the example of medicine purchases in Indonesia, we show the choice of method and threshold to have a significant impact on outcomes. We argue it is important to further standardize methods and appropriate threshold use in applied research to increase comparability of results and to facilitate sound assessments of affordability.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168851013001553
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Health Policy.

Volume (Year): 112 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 45-52

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Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:112:y:2013:i:1:p:45-52

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/healthpol

Related research

Keywords: Affordability; Comparison; Methodology; Medicines; Thresholds;

References

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  1. Bradley, Ralph, 2008. "Comment--Defining health insurance affordability: Unobserved heterogeneity matters," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 1129-1140, July.
  2. Wagstaff, Adam & Doorslaer, Eddy van, 2001. "Paying for health care : quantifying fairness, catastrophe, and impoverishment, with applications to Vietnam, 1993-98," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2715, The World Bank.
  3. Somkotra, Tewarit & Lagrada, Leizel P., 2008. "Payments for health care and its effect on catastrophe and impoverishment: Experience from the transition to Universal Coverage in Thailand," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(12), pages 2027-2035, December.
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  5. Bradley, Ralph, 2009. "Comment--Defining health insurance affordability: Unobserved heterogeneity matters," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 255-264, January.
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  7. Yue-Chune Lee & Ming-Chin Yang & Yu-Tung Huang & Chien-Hsiang Liu & Sun-Bing Chen, 2006. "Impacts of Cost Containment Strategies on Pharmaceutical Expenditures of the National Health Insurance in Taiwan, 1996–2003," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 24(9), pages 891-902, September.
  8. Kristin Komives & Vivien Foster & Jonathan Halpern & Quentin Wodon & Roohi Abdullah, 2008. "Water, Electricity, and the Poor : Who Benefits from Utility Subsidies?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11745, The World Bank.
  9. Murakami, Yuki & Blom, Andreas, 2008. "Accessibility and affordability of tertiary education in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru within a global context," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4517, The World Bank.
  10. Gabriela Flores & Jaya Krishnakumar & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2008. "Coping with health-care costs: implications for the measurement of catastrophic expenditures and poverty," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(12), pages 1393-1412.
  11. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer & Adam Wagstaff & Magnus Lindelow, 2008. "Analyzing Health Equity Using Household Survey Data : A Guide to Techniques and Their Implementation," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6896, October.
  12. Samuel Fankhauser & Sladjana Tepic, 2005. "Can poor consumers pay for energy and water? An affordability analysis for transition countries," Working Papers 92, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist.
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