The main factors of induced demand for medicine prescription: A qualitative study

Document Type: Research article

Authors

1 School of Public Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran

2 School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran

3 School of Public Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Inappropriate request for health care services which are considered to be unnecessary for the patients has long been addressed by several writers. The hypothesis supplier induced demand refers to the induced demand initiated by the supplier who acts in his own economic self-interest rather than patient best interest. The purpose of the present qualitative study was to explore about induced demand and the relevant motivating factors associated with unnecessary prescriptions of medicine.
In-depth interviews were used for data generation with a purposive sample of 20 participants who were selected according to their experience. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed. The key themes were identified, named and coded with a sample of quotation. In general, 24 sub-themes or factors were identified and classified into personal, community and institutional themes. Some important factors are asymmetric information, patient expectation, patient poor health literacy, physician's inadequate knowledge in medicine, neglecting patient rights, financial incentives, barriers in health insurance companies, reimbursement mechanism, marketing and advertising by pharmaceutical companies, poor financial condition of pharmacies and social interactions.
Our results showed that the induced demand for medicine is multifactorial in a health system. Addressing these factors could lead to decrease unnecessary prescription of medicine by a multi-faceted strategy, including curriculum revision, health promotion, and policy making.

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