Consumption of pharmaceutical drugs in exception region of separation for drug prescribing and dispensing program in South Korea

Sang Mi Yuk, Kyu Tae Han, Sun Jung Kim, Woorim Kim, Tae Yong Sohn, Byungyool Jeon, Young Man Kim, Eun Cheol Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In the year 2000, the South Korean government introduced a program for separation of drug prescribing and dispensing. The goals of the program are to reduce misuse of drugs and to contain drug expenditures. The government also designated exception regions for the program to reduce the inconvenience for people who reside in areas with a shortage of health care resources. However, according to government reports, many adverse events related to drug misuse occurred in these exception regions after the program reforms were introduced. Therefore, it is worth investigating the factors that relate to drug consumption so that misuse in exception regions can be reduced. Methods: Data from medical institutions, detailed drug supply data, and community health survey data were included in the analysis. Multilevel linear regression analysis using mixed models that included pharmacy-and regional-level variables were used to examine the associations regarding the percentages of drug types consumed (i.e., antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory drugs, psychotropic drugs, adrenal cortical hormones, and antibiotics). Results: The data used in this analysis were from a total of 16,455 pharmacies. There were 1.9 % pharmacies from program exception regions and 98.1 % pharmacies from program application regions. Compared with the pharmacies in the program application regions, the exception region pharmacies had higher values for percent consumption of the antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory drugs category, and of the adrenal cortical hormones category (antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory drugs = β: 3.19, Standard Error (SE): 0.82, t: 3.88, p-value < 0.05; adrenal cortical hormones = β: 0.72, SE: 0.07, t: 9.92, p-value < 0.05). Conclusion: Our results suggested that pharmacies in exception regions supplied more antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory drugs, and more adrenal cortical hormones compared with the pharmacies where separation of drug prescribing and dispensing had been implemented. Health care professionals and health policy makers should consider management of health care expenditure by the category of drugs consumed, especially in program exception regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept 16

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Yuk et al.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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