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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01069

The economic impact of a switch from prescription-only to non-prescription drugs in Italy

 Monica H. Otto1*,  Carla Pillarella2 and Claudio Jommi1, 3
  • 1CERGAS SDA Bocconi, Italy
  • 2Federchimica Assosalute, Italy
  • 3Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, Italy

The paper analyses the potential economic impact of switching drugs from prescription-only to over the counter status, using Italy as a case-study.
The study assumes a societal perspective, investigating the effects of switches (and consequent delisting) on drugs spending, avoided visits by GPs (General Practitioners) and avoided time spent by patients for these visits. It overcomes the main pitfalls of previous studies, providing a rational for listing switchable products and applying both a static (no impact of switch on prices and volumes consumed) and a dynamic approach (impact on pricing policies and volumes depending on price-elasticity). Different scenarios were assumed including shorter / longer time spent for visits and inclusion / exclusion of the economic value of time of retiree patients.
Results show that switching policy provides with societal savings ranging from 1 to 2.1 1 billion Euro. The economic impact on patients is less straightforward and depends on the scenarios used. If a longer time is spent on visits, the economic value of this time will compensate the cost of the switch to patients due to delisting.
Despite the net economic benefit should be carefully interpreted, the results demonstrate how switching can contribute to the sustainability of the health care system in the middle-long run thanks to the a more rational use of resources, combined with an increased awareness and responsibility of the involved stakeholders.

Keywords: switch, OTC, economic impact, Self Medication, Pharmaceutical expenditure

Received: 05 Jun 2018; Accepted: 03 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Philippe Van Wilder, Free University of Brussels, Belgium

Reviewed by:

Andrew S. Eggleston, Vista Health Consulting, Singapore
Folkert De Groot, ToendersdeGroot B.V., Netherlands  

Copyright: © 2018 Otto, Pillarella and Jommi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Monica H. Otto, CERGAS SDA Bocconi, Milano, Italy, monica.otto@unibocconi.it