International journal of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics

Economic prescribing of corticosteroid nasal sprays in Germany: comparison of mometasone and budesonide nasal sprays on the basis of the DDD, the PDD and reference prices.

PMID 23110787


According to the German Social Security Code (SGB V), drugs should be prescribed on a cost-effective basis. An attempt is made to achieve this in Germany with the help of the DDD system and reference prices. Taking the example of the most frequently prescribed corticosteroid nasal sprays containing the active substances budesonide (BNS) or mometasone (MNS), we will show here that the DDD system is not necessarily suitable for tapping economic reserves. Despite the pharmacologic differences between the two substances, a uniformly defined daily dose (DDD) is assumed for both. Moreover, since 2006 they have formed a reference-price group of nasally administered medication with other active substances. Products were compared with regard to potential differences in patient populations and resulting treatment costs. The extent to which the two instruments are suitable for tapping economic reserves were estimated. We analyzed longitudinal diagnostic and prescription data in the IMS® Disease Analyzer Database from the period 2006 to July 2010. In total we analyzed data from 16,163 MNS and 4,218 BNS patients from GP practices plus 11,103 MNS and 2,521 BNS patients from ENT practices. The average quantity prescribed per patient differed in favor of MNS by -111.5 (for first prescriptions) to -260.1 puffs (after 730 days) in GP practices and by -137.3 to -488.3 puffs in ENT practices (p < 0.001). The mean calculated treatment cost per year from the point of view of the statutory health insurer was 20.40 € (GP practices) and 30.50 € (ENT practices) for MNS compared to 22.40 € (GP practices) and 32.10 € (ENT practices) for BNS. Based on the price level after the 2011 referenceprice adjustment, the treatment costs are 16.40 € (GP practices) and 24.20 € (ENT practices) for MNS versus 21.20 € (GP practices) and 32.30 € (ENT practices) for BNS. The volumes of MNS actually prescribed are significantly lower than those of BNS in the compared patient populations. Based on the actual consumption of the substances, there is no treatment-cost advantage for BNS in comparison to MNS from the statutory health insurer's point of view. By contrast, the reference-price adjustment results in a greater reduction of treatment costs for mometasone, so that in this case the statutory health insurer is able to tap economic reserves. Both the comparative parameters used for calculating the reference price and the DDD system are only conditionally suitable for tapping economic reserves for drugs.

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