Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
NAVES, Janeth de Oliveira Silva and SILVER, Lynn Dee. Evaluation of pharmaceutical assistance in public primary care in Brasília, Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.39, n.2, pp. 223-230. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102005000200013.
OBJECTIVE: Pharmaceutical assistance is essential in health care and a right of citizens according to Brazilian law and drug policies. The study purpose was to evaluate aspects of pharmaceutical assistance in public primary health care. METHODS: A cross-sectional study using WHO drug indicators was carried out in Brasília in 2001. From a random sample of 15 out of 62 centers thirty exiting patients per center were interviewed. RESULTS: Only 18.7% of the patients fully understood the prescription, 56.3% could read it, 61.2% of the prescribed drugs were actually dispensed, and mean duration of pharmaceutical dispensing was 53.2 seconds. Each visit lasted on average 9.4 minutes. Of prescribed and non-dispensed drugs, 85.3% and 60.6% were on the local essential drug list (EDL) respectively. On average 83.2% of 40 essential drugs were in stock, and only two centers had a pharmacist in charge of the pharmacy. The mean number of drugs per prescription was 2.3, 85.3% of prescribed drugs were on the EDL, 73.2% were prescribed using the generic denomination, 26.4% included antibiotics and 7.5% were injectables. The most prescribed groups were: cardiovascular drugs (26.8%), anti-infective drugs (13.1%), analgesics (8.9%), anti-asthmatic drugs (5.8%), anti-diabetic drugs (5.3%), psychoactive drugs (3.7%), and combination drugs (2.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Essential drugs were only moderately available almost 30 years after the first Brazilian EDL was formulated. While physician use of essential drugs and generic names was fairly high, efficiency was impaired by the poor quality of pharmaceutical care, resulting in very low patient understanding and insufficient guarantee of supply, particularly for chronic diseases.
Keywords : Drug evaluation; Drugs, essential; Drug use habits; Prescriptions, drug; Primary health care; Drug utilization; Cross-sectional studies.