Health economic uses of drug data
This chapter describes the changing emphasis on cost and cost effectiveness of medicines which has developed in parallel with their increasing use, and implications for National Health Service (NHS) budgets. It illustrates how routine data can be used both to identify and chart savings which the NHS can achieve by considered use of therapeutic equivalents within drug classes. By 1900, aspirin was available as water soluble tablets, and was the first medication to be sold in this form. The issue for the health service is that morbidity data has until recently not been routinely available to the prescriber or the health economy in a format that can be easily accessed and processed. PACT data can be used for crude and pragmatic health economic analysis; that is, cost minimisation. In cost-effective analysis, the cost of treatment is compared with the expected outcome measured in natural units, in this case reduction in cholesterol.