The global financial crisis which started in 2008 may have considerable
impact on governments’
budgets and the available funding for health services. Past economic recessions
(especially the ‘97
Asian financial crisis) have shown that the impact on public health can be
severe. At a high level
meeting in January 2009 WHO was requested to investigate the impact of the
recession on global health. As part of this investigation a programme was
established which focused
on the impact of the global economic crisis on the pharmaceutical sector.
The goal of this study was to assess the impact of global recession on
consumption of medicines and
pharmaceutical expenditures and prices. A secondary objective was to investigate
were affected the most and the least by the recession in those countries that
showed a clear decline
in medicines consumption.
IMS Health provided indexed data for pharmaceutical consumption, expenditures
and prices in 84
countries from the first quarter of 2007 (Q1 07) until the last quarter of 2009
(Q4 09). Changes in
medicines consumption, pharmaceutical expenditure and prices over time (compared
to the first
quarter of 2008 (Q1 08); the last quarter before the recession) were assessed
per WHO region (AFR,
AMR, EMR, EUR, SEAR and WPR) and World Bank income category (high, upper middle,
and low income countries). Linear regression analysis was used to establish a
between a decline in GDP and pharmaceutical consumption in the European region.
consumption of medicines was subdivided into medicines for acute and chronic
examine if there was a difference in development of consumption between these
two categories. To
investigate a shift from original & licensed brands to other brands & unbranded
consumption patterns of both categories were compared.
A potential relationship between a decline in GDP and an increase in
pharmaceutical prices was
assessed by linear regression as well.
A shift in pharmaceutical consumption from the private sector to the public
sector was investigated
in four countries where data for both private and public sector were