The adjusted consumption method estimates drug requirements on the basis of actual drug use per 1,000 patient contacts in a sample of “standard” facilities, where the pattern and level of consumption are considered acceptable. In some cases an adjustment upwards or downwards may be needed for drug quantities where consumption is considered inappropriate.
In other words, the adjusted consumption in the “standard” facilities is considered to be a reasonable approximation of the need for drugs in other facilities of the same kind. This requires that:
(a) prescribing patterns in the “standard” facilities are considered to be broadly reasonable; and
(b) that the pattern of morbidity treated is representative of the pattern in the rest of the country or region concerned.
When compared with the morbidity method, this method offers less scope for systematic development to improve drug supply and prescribing practice. Its advantages are that it does not require either detailed data on patient morbidity, or standard treatment schedules. However, users of this method should pay particular attention to the fact that any irrational consumption patterns in the “standard” facilities, which are not corrected in the adjustment process, will be included in the drug estimates for all facilities of the type covered by the calculation.
It is important to realize that drug use is not identical to drug need. For example, high consumption of antibiotics because of indiscriminate prescribing, or the use of sophisticated or expensive forms might be interpreted as a need, whereas simpler or cheaper preparations would suffice.
In addition, it must be emphasized that also for the adjusted consumption method to be successful, it is crucial to improve prescribing in order to bring it into line with the drug need estimates. One means to do this is to use standard treatment schedules.