The impact of the government health funding on prescribing behaviors in community health institutions in China

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Abstract

Government health funding (GHF) is a cosmopolitan problem. It is especially conspicuous in China, where drug sales become a main source of medical institutions’ incomes due to limited GHF. This is well known as China's “drug maintain medical institutions (DMMIs)” system which results directly in very high use of antibiotics, injections, and corticosteroids. However, few statistical data existed in China on the association between the GHF and the prevalence of inappropriate drug prescribing, despite widespread acknowledgment of its existence.

A multistage sampling strategy was employed to select 442,100 prescriptions written between 2007 and 2011 by urban community health (CH) institutions and check the GHF in 36 key cities (districts) across China. This study examined the association between the GHF and the prevalence of inappropriate drug prescribing, which differs somewhat from previous studies.

The data suggested that from 2007 to 2011, with the increase of GHF, prescribing behaviors (PB) gradually improved on the whole although doctors still prescribed a few more drugs than the recommendations from World Health Organization (WHO). This study found that there is significant negative association between GHF and main indicators of PB (correlation coefficients more than 0.5).

The findings implied that government should further perfect the compensation mechanism to medical institutions for gradually weakening the compensation function of drug sales in medical institutions.

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