Product standardisation as a tool to control prescribing costs a case study of alginate liquid preparations

Ola Ahmed Alahdab Albannay, Grainne Crealey, Michael G. Scott, Jill Mairs, James C. McElnay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Product standardisation involves promoting the prescribing of pre-selected products within a particular category across a healthcare region and is designed to improve patient safety by promoting continuity of medicine use across the primary/secondary care interface, in addition to cost containment without compromising clinical care (i.e. maintaining safety and efficacy). Objectives To examine the impact of product standardisation on the prescribing of compound alginate preparations within primary care in Northern Ireland. Methods Data were obtained on alginate prescribing from the Northern Ireland Central Services Agency (Prescription Pricing Branch), covering a period of 43 months. Two standardisation promotion interventions were carried out at months 18 and 33. In addition to conventional statistical analyses, a simple interrupted time series analysis approach, using graphical interpretation, was used to facilitate interpretation of the data. Results There was a significant increase in the prescribed share of the preferred alginate product in each of the four health boards in Northern Ireland and a decrease in the cost per Defined Daily Dose for alginate liquid preparations overall. Compliance with the standardisation policy was, however, incomplete and was influenced to a marked degree by the activities of the pharmaceutical industry. The overall economic impact of the prescribing changes during the study was small (3.1%). Conclusion The findings suggested that product standardisation significantly influenced the prescribing pattern for compound alginate liquid preparations within primary care across Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2013


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