PURPOSE: The continuous growth of antidepressant consumption and expenditure, especially for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), has led to the adoption of several policy measures directed toward cost control in Western countries. In Italy, copayment policies have been heterogeneously introduced at a regional level as part of a strategy designed to reduce drug consumption. The aim of our study was to evaluate whether regional copayment policies have affected trends in the consumption of and expenditure for SSRIs from 2001 to 2007. METHODS: The consumption of SSRIs was measured in terms of defined daily doses per 1,000 inhabitants (DDD/1000) per day from May 2001 to December 2007. Time trends in consumption and expenditure before and after the introduction of copayment policies were examined using segmented regression analysis of interrupted time-series, adjusting for seasonal components. The study was conducted for 17 regions, nine of which had implemented a copayment policy. RESULTS: The overall consumption of SSRIs in Italy increased during the study period, from a monthly consumption of 12.85 DDD/1000 per day in May 2001 to 23.40 DDD/1000 per day in December 2007. The average monthly increase in SSRI use was 0.82 % in regions with a copayment policy versus 0.77 % in regions without a copayment policy (P = 0.329). According to the multivariable analysis, copayment was associated with a 1 % reduction in the monthly growth rate of SSRI consumption (P = 0.01). The impact of copayment on expenditure was statistically significant (P < 0.005) on both the level and the trend, even though the estimate of the effect was negligible. CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of copayment policies in Italy affected both the use and expenditure of SSRIs between 2001 and 2007 to only to a minor extent.
- Antidepressive agents/therapeutic use
- Drug policy expenditure
- Drug utilization
- Serotonin uptake inhibitors
- Time trends