Cost to the Patient or Cost to the Healthcare System? Which one Matters the Most for GP Prescribing Decisions? A UK-Italy Comparison
Charges for health services help contain healthcare costs. Despite showing that medicine consumption decreases when charges are increased research has not yet identified how doctors 'manage' the charge system to help patients who cannot afford treatment. This paper describes how the charge system influences the prescribing decisions of Italian and UK physicians. The data are from the qualitative stage of a multi-stage study exploring cost related influences on GP and patient decision-making regarding medicine use. The analysis presented is based on transcripts of focus groups conducted with general practitioners. To help patients who have difficulties affording their medication Italian GPs rely on a smaller number of cost reduction strategies compared to their UK counterparts. They use 'samples' left by pharmaceutical companies, or diagnose patients with pathologies that allow exemption. Occasionally they recommend some delay or change therapy to a cheaper but less effective alternative. Italian and UK GPs have firm views about patients abusing the NHS and believe costs to the system are as important as costs to the individual patient. Prescribing budgets were not viewed in a positive light by Italian GPs. Due to the nature of the charge system in Italy GPs there are able to choose a reimbursable product for patients, so have less need than UK doctors to look for other means of reducing costs. Conversely, the UK GPs have developed a large number of cost reduction strategies, probably because of the charge system itself and the relatively high charges incurred by patients.
|Date of creation:||31 Jan 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma|
Web page: http://www.ceistorvergata.it
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma|
Web: http://www.ceistorvergata.it Email:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Noyce, Peter R. & Huttin, Christine & Atella, Vicenzo & Brenner, Gerhard & Haaijer-Ruskamp, Flora M. & Hedvall, Maj-Britt & Mechtler, Reli, 2000. "The cost of prescription medicines to patients," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 129-145, June.
- O'Brien, Bernie, 1989. "The effect of patient charges on the utilisation of prescription medicines," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 109-132, March.
- Huttin, C. & Andral, J., 2000. "How the reimbursement system may influence physicians' decisions results from focus groups interviews in France," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 67-86, November.
- Ryan, Mandy & Birch, Stephen, 1991. "Charging for health care: Evidence on the utilisation of NHS prescribed drugs," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 681-687, January.
- Atella, Vincenzo, 2000. "Drug cost containment policies in Italy: are they really effective in the long-run?: The case of minimum reference price," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 197-218, January.
- Lundberg, Lena & Johannesson, Magnus & Isacson, Dag G. L. & Borgquist, Lars, 1998. "Effects of user charges on the use of prescription medicines in different socio-economic groups," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 123-134, May.
- Schoen, Cathy & Davis, Karen & DesRoches, Catherine & Donelan, Karen & Blendon, Robert, 2000. "Health insurance markets and income inequality: findings from an international health policy survey," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 67-85, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:1. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Barbara Piazzi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.