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Effects of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme on village doctor’s prescribing behaviour in Shandong Province

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Objective: To assess the effects of China’s new community health insurance, the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS), on village doctors’ prescribing behaviour. NCMS began in 2003. Method, In 2005 we conducted a quasi-experimental case-control study in Shandong Province, and collected information from 2,271 patient visits in 30 village health stations. Results, NCMS has adversely influenced prescribing behaviour of village doctors. Average number of drugs prescribed, percentage of prescriptions containing antibiotics, number of antibiotics per prescription, percentage of patients given injections, and average per prescription cost were consistently higher in NCMS village health stations than non-NCMS. Within NCMS villages, prescribing behaviour towards insured patients was significantly different to the uninsured. Conclusion, Over-prescribing is common in villages with and without health insurance, with grave concerns for service quality and drug-use safety. Policy implications are NCMS should be redesigned to exert more influence on health providers, with incentives for cost containment and service quality. Stricter regulatory environment for prescriptions is necessary to counter irrational drug-use and ensure people’s access to effective care at reasonable cost.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia in its series Discussion Papers Series with number 354.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:354

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  1. Dong, Hengjin & Bogg, Lennart & Rehnberg, Clas & Diwan, Vinod, 1999. "Association between health insurance and antibiotics prescribing in four counties in rural China," Health Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 29-45, July.
  2. Dr Sukhan Jackson & Xiaoyun Sun1 & Gordon Carmichael & Adrian C. Sleigh1., 2007. "Catastrophic Payment and Health Protection in Rural China - Impact of New Cooperative Medical Scheme in Shandong Province," Discussion Papers Series, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia 344, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
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