wellbeing news

Helsana Drug Report

Recipe quality issues

Zurich (ots) The cost of medicines in Switzerland in 2018 is about CHF 7.6 billion. Since 2010, costs have risen 46 percent, with half increasing for immunosuppressants and cancer drugs. Moreover, the use of so-called biosimilars (copy preparations) offers great potential for savings. Another revelation of this year's Helsana Medicines Report is that further efforts are needed to better manage antibiotics in the outpatient area.

Helsinki's latest drug report shows that the cost of medicines at the expense of basic health insurance reaches a new high of CHF 7.6 billion in 2018. Drug costs have risen 46 percent since 2010. By contrast, total health care costs rose significantly less – according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics, by 26.7 percent. However, the recent increase has been smaller than in previous years, thanks to price reviews by the Federal Office of Public Health and expired patents of some of the original preparations. Again, immunosuppressants were the most expensive group of drugs, but they were closely monitored by cancer drugs. In 2018, a total of 22 new drugs were launched, primarily in these two drug groups. There is great potential for savings in copycat preparations of biologically produced drugs, the so-called biosimilars. However, the Swiss doctors still mostly prescribe the originals. The medical profession requires more binding prescriptions to prescribe cheaper alternatives. Otherwise, the huge savings potential in the Swiss healthcare system remains untapped.

Seasonal fluctuations and differences in cantonal antibiotic prescriptions

There is an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the world. Switzerland is no exception. The drug report examines prescriptions for antibiotics in the outpatient area from 2012 to 2018. About 20 percent of the population receives at least one antibiotic each year. It is striking that mainly broad-spectrum antibiotics are prescribed instead of particularly effective drugs. This development is accompanied by a small proportion of laboratory testing (18%) for testing pathogens and resistance to ongoing prescription. Laboratory tests for proper antibiotic management could be helpful. Seasonal differences in antibiotic prescribing indicate that viral diseases, such as respiratory diseases, are treated incorrectly with antibiotics. Furthermore, antibiotics are used very differently in different regions of Switzerland. Sensitivity to the careful handling of antibiotics is not equally available everywhere.

Interaction analysis identifies the potential for drug quality

If certain drugs are combined together, such as certain blood thinners and gastric acid inhibitors, negative interactions between the active substances can occur. This can lead to loss of function or unwanted, serious side effects. The analysis of the ten selected drug combinations shows great potential for improving the quality of the drugs. The drug interaction problem was found not to be a mere interface problem in the treatment chain because the interaction drugs were largely prescribed or dispensed by the same provider.

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