Recently Published: New Report Comparing Usage of Medicines in the UK with Other Countries

Just published is an analysis for the ABPI by Phill O’Neill and Jon Sussex of the Office of Health Economics. They have estimated the quantities of medicines used per head of population in the UK and 12 other high income countries. This updates to 2012/13 the 2008/09 analysis which was published by the UK Department of Health in the 2010 Richards Report: “Extent and causes of international variations in drug usage: A report for the Secretary of State for Health by Professor Sir Mike Richards CBE.
This analysis highlights the usage of important classes of medicines in the UK relative to 12 comparable high-income countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA. Sixteen classes of medicines were included in the original Richards report covering key primary care and secondary care therapy areas such as cardiovascular and cancer.
OHE used the same method as that in the 2010 Richards Report. Volume usage of medicines (proxied by sales volumes) per head of total population in each country was calculated. Medicines in each class were combined using a comparable unit of volume (e.g. defined daily doses, milligrams etc.). For cancer this approach was not possible and un-weighted ranking scores for each cancer medicine were combined.  UK usage per head of population of each class of medicines was then expressed as a percentage of the international average rate of usage per head of population across all of the countries. A score of 100% would mean the UK matches the international average.
Chart: UK usage per head of population as % of the international average
The analysis found:
UK usage is below the international average in 2012/13 for 11 out of 16 classes of medicines and above in 5
Between 2008/09 and 2012/13 UK medicines usage per head of total population has risen relative to the international average in 11 classes of medicines and fallen in 5
For two new sub-classes of medicines – novel oral anti-coagulants and protease inhibitors for hepatitis C – UK usage is less than half of the international average
The analysis was extended to include the two classes with the greatest sales for medicines launched in the last five years, HIV and diabetes
UK usage of HIV medicines per head of total population is close to the international average rate
For new diabetes medicines UK usage per head of  is around 1/3rd the international average
For older diabetes medicines UK usage is significantly above the international average rate
It was beyond the scope of the report to determine the causes of the observed differences in usage between countries.
A complementary report to the OHE analysis published by RAND Europe – commissioned by the Department of Health in England –  explores some of those issues in five therapy classes.
Access the OHE analysis here
The accompanying RAND Europe report can be found here.



Posted in Use of Medicines | Tagged Consulting Reports