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Dispensing practices and antibiotic use


  • Massimo Filippini

    (Department of Economics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Giuliano Masiero

    () (Department of Economics and Technology Management, University of Bergamo, Italy)

  • Karine Moschetti

    (Department of Economics, University of Lugano, Switzerland)


The regulation on prescribing and dispensing of antibiotics has a double purpose: to enhance access to antibiotic treatment and to reduce the inappropriate use of drugs. Nevertheless, incentives to dispensing physicians may lead to inefficiencies. We sketch a theoretical model of the market for antibiotic treatment and empirically investigate the impact of self-dispensing on the per capita outpatient antibiotic consumption using data from small geographic areas in Switzerland. We find evidence that a greater proportion of dispensing practices is associated with higher levels of antibiotic use. This suggests that health authorities have a margin to adjust economic incentives on dispensing practices in order to reduce antibiotic misuse.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Filippini & Giuliano Masiero & Karine Moschetti, 2008. "Dispensing practices and antibiotic use," Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano 0808, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
  • Handle: RePEc:lug:wpaper:0808

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fredrik Carlsen & Jostein Grytten, 1998. "More physicians: improved availability or induced demand?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(6), pages 495-508.
    2. Hunt-McCool, Janet & Kiker, B F & Ng, Ying Chu, 1994. "Estimates of the Demand for Medical Care under Different Functional Forms," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(2), pages 201-218, April-Jun.
    3. Brekke, Kurt R. & Nuscheler, Robert & Straume, Odd Rune, 2007. "Gatekeeping in health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 149-170, January.
    4. Gravelle, Hugh & Masiero, Giuliano, 2000. "Quality incentives in a regulated market with imperfect information and switching costs: capitation in general practice," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 1067-1088, November.
    5. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2008. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9787111235767, March.
    6. Filippini, Massimo & Masiero, Giuliano & Moschetti, Karine, 2009. "Small area variations and welfare loss in the use of outpatient antibiotics," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 55-77, January.
    7. Kurt R. Brekke & Robert Nuscheler & Odd Rune Straume, 2006. "Quality and Location Choices under Price Regulation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 207-227, March.
    8. Michael Baye & Robert Maness & Steven Wiggins, 1997. "Demand systems and the true subindex of the cost of living for pharmaceuticals," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(9), pages 1179-1190.
    9. Grytten, Jostein & Sorensen, Rune, 2003. "Practice variation and physician-specific effects," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 403-418, May.
    10. Izabela Jelovac, 2001. "Physicians' payment contracts, treatment decisions and diagnosis accuracy," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(1), pages 9-25.
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    More about this item


    Dispensing; Antibiotic use;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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