Comparative Study of Pharmaceutical Costs in Iran's Insurance Systems: Review of National Data in an International Perspective

Shahram Tofighi, Seyyed Hesamoddin Sharifinia, Ali Hassanzadeh, Farshad Najafipour, Rouhollah Zaboli, Aziz Rezapour, Nasser Saravi

Abstract


Introduction: Medications are the substantial part of health carewith high cost-effectiveness that a large share of the household expenditure is allocated to them. In recent years, most developed countries have been faced with increasing Pharmaceutical costs (about 10%-20%). In recent years, Iran's Pharmaceutical costs also have constantly increased. The aim of this study was to evaluate Pharmaceutical coverage, determine Pharmaceutical problems and find ways to overcome the problems.

Methods: This study was a comparative-descriptive, review and retrospective study that used library and internet sites as resources. The study has two major phases. In the first phase, we searched primary sources and the internet to find an appropriate model to gather information about Pharmaceutical systems in the selected countries. In the second phase, we collected the information and statistics relating to  pharmaceuticuse in outpatients and inpatients from 1994 to 2011 which was formally received from 4 Iranian health insurance organizations.

Results: The results show that the costs of pharmaceutical agencies at four main health insurance organizations in Iran had increased more than 722% between 2001-2011, while in the leading countries specific mechanisms have been used to control Pharmaceutical costs  in the healthcare.

Conclusion: According to the findings of this review, different countries, especially developed countries have organized concepts such as new Pharmaceutical pricing, hospital Pharmaceuticals, over the counter (OTC) Drugs, control of Pharmaceutical use, patients share in the costs and etc which has controlled the pricing of the pharmaceutical products in their societies. Therefore, in all countries, these programs are oriented towards developing Pharmaceutical services, reducing the Pharmaceutical costs and the rational control of Pharmaceutical use in terms of the framework of the health care system. In reviewing the insurance systems and its current policy in Iran, the evidences relating to the methods and structures cited above can be seen, but in practice, many designed processes are not applying or are implemented incompletely. Growing Pharmaceutical costs in Iran indicate this issue.

 

Keywords: Pharmaceutical Economics, Pharmaceutical Costs, Insurance organizations, National Health Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services Insurance, Pharmaceutical Utilization

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