J Pharm Policy Pract. 2022 Oct 22;15(1):68. doi: 10.1186/s40545-022-00466-4.
BACKGROUND: In India, due to a lack of population-level financial risk protection mechanisms, the expenditure on healthcare is primarily out-of-pocket in nature. Through Drug Price Control Orders (DPCOs), the Indian Government attempts to keep medicine prices under check. The aim of this study was to measure the potential impact of DPCO 2013 on the utilization of antibiotics under price regulation in India using large nationally representative pharmaceutical sales data.
METHODS: We used interrupted time series analysis, a quasi-experimental research design to estimate the impact of DPCO 2013 on the utilization of antibiotics in the private sector in India. Indian pharmaceutical sales data set, PharmaTrac from a market research company-All Indian Origin Chemists and Distributors Limited-was used for the study. The data are collected from a panel of around 18,000 stockists across 23 different regions of the country. The primary outcome measure is the percentage change (increase or decrease) in the sales volume of the antibiotics under DPCO 2013, measured in standard units (SUs).
RESULTS: Our estimates suggest that post-intervention (after notification of DPCO 2013) there was an immediate reduction (level change) in the sales of antibiotics under DPCO 2013 by 3.7% (P > 0.05), followed by a sustained decline (trend change) of 0.3% (P > 0.05) as compared to the pre-intervention trend at the molecule level, but both changes were statistically insignificant. However, in terms of ‘average monthly market share,’ the DPCO 2013 notification resulted in a sharp reduction of 579% (P < 0.05) (level change) followed by a sustained increase of 9.5% (P > 0.05) (trend change) in the ‘market share of antibiotics under DPCO’ as compared to pre-intervention trend.
CONCLUSIONS: The impact of DPCO 2013 in terms of the overall increase in the utilization of antibiotics under price regulation was limited but there was a switch from non-price controlled antibiotics to price regulated antibiotics (notified under DPCO 2013). We argue that policies on price control need to be complemented with continuous monitoring of market behavior to have a measurable and long-term impact.