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BMC Health Serv Res. 2018 Oct 23;18(1):812. doi: 10.1186/s12913-018-3614-8.

Trends analysis for drug utilization in county public hospitals: a sample study of the pilot area of health care reform in China.

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Department of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, Anhui Institute of Innovative Drugs, School of Pharmacy, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, 230032, Anhui, China.
Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, 230032, Anhui, China.
Department of Pharmacy, Anhui Provincial Hospital, Hefei, 230001, Anhui, China.
Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, 230032, Anhui, China.



Changes in the national drug policy always have impact on the drug utilization. In the context of China health care reform, what changes had happened in the trend of drug utilization in public hospitals? Has this change met the expectations of policy design? This study was conducted to explore the trend of medicine consumption in county public hospitals before and after health care reform, and to provide real-world evidence to help assess the effectiveness of national drug policy.


A cross-sectional study was performed to investigate the drug utilization trends of 6 county public hospitals in Anhui Province, which is the first pilot area of China health care reform. Data were collected before and after the implementation of the China National Essential Medicine Policy (NEMP) to analyse the drug utilization indicators, such as the drug utilization constituent ratio, the rate of essential medicine usage and the rate of antibiotic consumption.


Chemicals are used most frequently and account for 60%~ 70%, followed by oral agents of proprietary Chinese medicine. The results also show increased consumption of Chinese medicine injections (χ2 = 28.428, P < 0.01). The top 3 chemical medicines consumed were anti-infective drugs (12.92%), cardiovascular system drugs (11.61%), and digestive system drugs (8.42%). For Chinese traditional medicine, the top 3 drugs consumed were internal medicine drugs (66.03%), surgical drugs (8.45%), and gynaecological drugs (7.70%). The total sales amounts of drugs covered by medical insurance are at a high level (all above 80%), whereas essential medicines are less than 50% at almost all county-level medical institutions.


This study uncovered the changing tendency of medicine usage under the implementation of the reform. Chinese medicine injections and anti-infective drugs have always been a sustained concern of pharmacovigilance. It is noteworthy that although essential medicines are advocated for as a priority for use in the government-run hospital, the consumption proportion of these medicines is lower than expected.


Drug utilization; Health care reform; Pharmacovigilance; Rational use of medicine

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