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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


BOTTA, Carina A.. Evaluation of the drug supply in the primary health care services of Rosario, Argentina, 2005. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.25, n.4, pp.283-291. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the public process for selecting and acquiring prescription drugs in the Rosario municipality, Argentina, during 2005, from the perspective of pharmaceuticals management. METHODS:  A combination of management tools was used: a Pareto analysis was used to prioritize the various drugs on the budget of the Public Health Secretariat of the Rosario Municipality; therapeutic categories were reviewed to identify possible substitutions that would reduce spending on "unrestricted" prescription drugs (those not requiring proof of medical necessity); comparative analysis of drug prices was conducted and expenses were reconciled; and order fulfillment was reviewed as a means of rating suppliers. RESULTS: In 2005, a total of 371 medications were purchased: 12.4% of these medications (group A) absorbed 74.9% of the total budget; whereas 12.7% (group B) cost 14.9% and 74.9% (group C) used the remaining 10.2%. The largest proportion of the spending correlated with "unrestricted" prescriptions (group A: 82.1%; group B: 68%; group C: 58%), generally the first choice and most economical. The drugs in group A pertained to 21 therapeutic subgroups; savings opportunities were identified in five of them. The local price paid was 2.0 times more than the international reference price. Four suppliers received 72.0% of the drug orders; however, three of them were responsible for the majority of fulfillment errors and the longest delays. CONCLUSIONS: Opportunities for cost-saving were identified, and as a consequence, for improving the general public's access to prescription medications. The prescription drug supply can be improved by putting in place a procedure for tracking delays and a process for evaluating and approving suppliers.

Keywords : Drug price; drug, essential; pharmaceutical trade; national drug policy; Argentina.

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