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Int J Clin Pharm. 2013 Jun;35(3):386-92. doi: 10.1007/s11096-012-9744-x. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Worldwide analysis of factors associated with medicines compendia publishing.

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  • 1Pharmacoepidemiology and Social Pharmacy Unit, Research Institute for Medicines and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal.



Medicines compendia, also called formularies, are the most commonly used drug information source among health care professionals.


The aim was to identify the countries publishing medicines compendia and the socio-demographic factors associated to this fact. Additionally, we sought to determine the use of foreign compendia in countries lacking their own.


Global web-based survey.


Healthcare practitioners and researchers from 193 countries worldwide were invited to complete a web-based survey. The questionnaire investigated the existence of a national compendium, or the use of foreign compendia in the absence of one. Demographic and socioeconomic variables were used to predict compendia publishing through a multivariate analysis.


Existence of national medicines compendia and foreign compendia used.


Professionals from 132 countries completed the survey (response rate at a country level 68.4%, comprising 90.9% global population). Eighty-four countries (63.6%) reported publishing a medicines compendium. In the multivariate analysis, only two covariates had significant association with compendia publishing. Being a member of the Organisation for the Economic Cooperation and Development was the only variable positively associated with compendia publishing (OR = 37.5; 95% CI = 2.3:599.8). In contrast, the countries that listed French as an official language were less likely to publish a compendium (OR = 0.07; 95% CI = 0.007:0.585). Countries without national compendia reported using the British National Formulary most commonly, followed by the Dictionnaire Vidal.


Publication of medicines compendia is associated with socio-economic development. Countries lacking a national compendium, use foreign compendia from higher-income countries. Creating an international medicines compendium under the leadership of the World Health Organisation, rather than merely a 'model', would reduce the risks of using information sources not-adapted to the necessities of developing countries.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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