Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a new drug-pricing system (January 2012) and new prescription and reimbursement guidelines (January 2013) on hypertension-related pharmaceutical expenditures and prescribing behaviors in Korea. Methods: In all, 11,298 clinics and 2,667,132 patients with hypertension were included in our study. As dependent variables, we used the drug cost per patient, drug cost per prescribed day, number of drugs per prescription, number of prescribed days per visit, number of visits, number of original (vs. generic) drugs prescribed, and the percentage of original drug cost. Clinic characteristics and patients' age and sex were used as independent variables. Multi-level mixed-effect regression models were used. Results: The drug cost per patient decreased by -1446 KRW$ (-7.4%; p<. 0.001) in Q4 2012 and by -1833 (-9.3%; p<. 0.001) in Q2 2013 compared with Q4 2011. Number of drugs per prescription decreased significantly. The percentage of original drug cost and the number of original drugs also declined. Conclusion: Reforms to the drug pricing policy and the new guidelines may reduce pharmaceutical expenditures without increasing number of drugs per prescription and the number of original drug used. Policy makers should consider the comprehensive effects of implementing new policies on both drug prices and consumption.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Policy