Purpose: The study’s aim was to compare the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), histamine 2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs) and mucoprotective medicines (MPs) used for gastric acid-related disorders (GARD) in Australia and South Korea (Korea) from 2004 to 2017.
Methods: Prescription data for PPIs, H2RAs and MPs for Australian outpatients were extracted from the Australian Statistics on Medicines annual reports, with dose-specific and expenditure data obtained from Medicare. Similar data were obtained from Korean National Health Insurance Service claims data. We analysed the volume and expenditure of medicines use annually using the defined daily dose per 1,000 population per day. We calculated which medicines accounted for 90% of use and estimated the proportions of use for low- and high-dose PPIs.
Results: While total utilisation for GARD medicines increased over time in both countries, patterns of use differed. Overall, use was somewhat higher in Australia but increased more rapidly in Korea. PPIs were used more extensively in Australia, while more MPs and H2RAs were used in Korea. Expenditure and use of low-dose PPIs is escalating in Korea.
Conclusion: There were substantial differences in the use of GARD medicines in Australia and Korea over 14 years. Both countries face similar challenges to promote rational medicines use and contain medical care costs. The discrepant prescribing patterns can be attributed to differences in healthcare systems, pharmaceutical policies and demographics. This study provides a baseline to influence more rational use of these medicines. It provides insight into medicines policies for other countries that face similar challenges.