Impact of changes to reimbursement of fixed combinations of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting β₂ -agonists in obstructive lung diseases: a population-based, observational study.
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AuthorsBjörnsdóttir, U S
Sigurðardóttir, S T
Jonsson, J S
MetadataShow full item record
CitationInt. J. Clin. Pract. 2014, 68 (7):812-9
AbstractIn 2010, the Icelandic government introduced a new cost-saving policy that limited reimbursement of fixed inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β₂ -agonist (ICS/LABA) combinations.
This population-based, retrospective, observational study assessed the effects of this policy change by linking specialist/primary care medical records with data from the Icelandic Pharmaceutical Database. The policy change took effect on 1 January 2010 (index date); data for the year preceding and following this date were analysed in 8241 patients with controlled/partly controlled asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who had been dispensed an ICS/LABA during 2009. Oral corticosteroid (OCS) and short-acting β₂ -agonist (SABA) use, and healthcare visits, were assessed pre- and post-index.
The ICS/LABA reimbursement policy change led to 47.8% fewer fixed ICS/LABA combinations being dispensed during the post-index period among patients whose asthma and/or COPD was controlled/partly controlled during the pre-index period. Fewer ICS monocomponents were also dispensed. A total of 48.6% of patients were no longer receiving any respiratory medications after the policy change. This was associated with reduced disease control, as demonstrated by more healthcare visits (44.0%), and more OCS (76.3%) and SABA (51.2%) dispensations.
Overall, these findings demonstrate that changes in healthcare policy and medication reimbursement can directly impact medication use and, consequently, clinical outcomes and should, therefore, be made cautiously.
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