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Pharmacoeconomics of medicines used for geriatric individuals in a tertiary care hospital in Delhi.

BACKGROUND OBJECTIVES: Expenditure on healthcare is a major concern in the geriatric age group. The current study was carried out to assess the expenditure patterns on medicines utilized in geriatric inpatients.

METHODS: An observational study was conducted on 1000 geriatric inpatients, aged ≥60 yr, admitted to the medicine unit. Data were collected regarding demographic characteristics, prescribed medicines, expenditure incurred on medicines, appropriateness of medicines prescribed and adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Appropriateness of the prescribed medicines was determined using the American Geriatrics Society 2015 Updated Beers Criteria.

RESULTS: Geriatric inpatients comprised 41.3 per cent of the total individuals admitted in the ward during the study period. A total of 8366 medicines were prescribed in 127 formulations. The total expenditure on prescribed medicines was INR 1,087,175 with a per capita expenditure of INR 1087.17. Parenteral medicines accounted for 91 per cent of the expenditure on medicines. Maximum expenditure (70%) was incurred on 11.9 per cent of the medicines prescribed. The per capita expenditure was significantly higher in individuals with comorbidities (P=0.03) and those who had a longer duration of hospital stay (P<0.0001). About 28.1 per cent prescriptions were inappropriate. ADRs (140) were observed in 139 (13.9%) inpatients. Individuals with inappropriate medicines prescriptions and ADRs had a longer duration of hospital stay and more number of medicines prescribed.

INTERPRETATION CONCLUSIONS: Comorbidities, prolonged hospitalization, polypharmacy, inappropriate medicines and parenteral medicines being prescribed contribute to increased expenditure on medicines in geriatric inpatients. In view of the rising number of geriatric inpatients, there is a need to frame a drug policy for them along with surveillance of expenditure on prescribed medicines. This needs to be treated as a priority.

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