Pharmaceutical Expenditure in Benin. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 011 (1991)
(1991; 2 pages)


The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Benin, in collaboration with the WHO Action Programme on Essential Drugs and the Benin Ministry of Health, launched a study to discover how much money was spent on drugs and on which drugs in Benin in 1987-88. Previous studies showed that drug demand was inelastic and individuals and households spent a considerable amount on drugs, but more information on drug purchasing was needed before public funding mechanisms and rational use promotion could be discussed. Researchers conducted the study in four regions of Benin representative of the country as a whole. Two single cross-sectional surveys – one of drug buyers and one of households – were carried out via interviews and questionnaires to collect data. Data showed that about half of all medications purchased were with a prescription and only 25% of all drugs purchased were essential drugs and single substance drugs. The household survey showed that 69% of households had low incomes (mean approximately US $1400 for 8 people), but even with limited financial resources, 65% of households consumed drugs and 53% of households had bought drugs within the two weeks prior to the survey. Researchers concluded that a substantial amount of money is spent on drugs in Benin. Demand for drugs was shown to be inelastic and as a result, many people spent more on drugs than they could afford. The results of this study have been widely disseminated and are being used by the Ministry of Health to refocus Benin’s national drug policy. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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