Acta Medica Iranica 2017. 55(10):628-635.

The Dilemma of Irrational Antibiotic and Corticosteroid Prescription in Iran: How Much It Can Affect the Medicine Expenditures?
Parisa Mehdizadeh, Nooredin Dopeykar, Mohammad Meskarpour-Amiri, Hediyeh Zekri, Mahmoud Salesi


In recent years the high cost of medicines and the lack of it were one of the major problems in developing countries that despite numerous efforts to solve the root causes of this problem, the issue remains, unfortunately. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the impact of antibiotics and corticosteroids prescription on the medicines expenditures. This was descriptive-analytical study that conducted to assess the function of medical expenditures through prescription letters and analysis the factors affecting medicine expenditures. We used the data of 91,994,667 selected prescription letters that were collected by the Ministry of the Health and Medical Education (MOHME) throughout the country in the year 2011 which was analyzed through a logarithmic regression model and OLS estimator. The average number of prescription items in each prescription letter were varied from 2.7 to 3.6, and the average price of each letter was varied from 30223 to 69986 Rials. Between 39 to 61 percent of prescription letters containing antibiotic items and between 15 and 35% of them contain corticosteroids. Also, the impact of antibiotic and corticosteroid prescriptions on the average expenditure of prescription letters were -1.4 and 0.032 respectively. Excessive and irrational prescribing had the greatest impact on medicine expenditures. On the other hand, the expenditure of prescription letters had the negative elasticity to antibiotics prescription and relatively inelastic for corticosteroids. So, raising the price of medications to reduce the use of them could not play a successful role in a control policy.


Prescription; Antibiotic; Corticosteroid; Medical expenditure; Health policy

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