Pharmacoeconomics of Antibiotic TherapyReport as inadecuate

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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases - Volume 5 1994, Suppl C, Pages 42C-44C

Departmenls of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During the past few years new drugs with greatly improved efficacy have become available to physiciansand their patients. The higher purchase price of these new drugs is quite important and is quoted as asignificant cause of the escalating cost of health care. Antibiotics have played a highly visible role in thistherapeutic scene and account for $1.2 billion of the yearly national pharmaceutical budget in the UnitedStates. From an economic point of view, costs arise because resources are limited and have alternativeuses. The real cost of prescribing a new, more expensive drug, may be that other drugs and-or servicesbecome unavailable. Unsurprisingly, considering the magnitude of the slakes, we have seen the recentdevelopment and expansion of subsets of the field of health economics. Of these, cost of illness studies andpharmacoeconomics have played a prominent role. The ultimate objective of these relatively new tools isto help clinicians and decision makers in selling priori lies. A pharmacoeconomic study can have differentperspectives. Cost and benefits can be calculated with respect to the patients-, society-s, the payers, or thehealth care providers, point of view. The perspective chosen for a study determines what is counted as costor benefit; therefore, the economic impact of an intervention may be quite different depending on theperspective taken. Pharmacoeconomics is particularly relevant to antibiotic therapy since it can demonstratethat the price of acquisition of the drug plays a relatively modest part in the global pharmacoeconomicaspect of tl1c treatment of bacterial infections. This is easily understood when it is realized that failure totreat a bacterial infection due to an inadequate choice of antibiotic promptly can result in avoidablehospitalization, prolongation of hospitalization, permanent disability and even death.

Author: Jacques Le Lorier



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