The Role of Dispensing by Japanese Community Pharmacists in Reducing Medicine Costs

  •  Masayuki Yokoi    
  •  Takao Tashiro    


This study investigated the economic efficacy of separation of drug prescribing and dispensing (separation system). We examined whether daily medical expenses on prescriptions for former drugs, generic drugs, medical devices, and the number of drugs are curtailed due to the separation system, whose function is to separate the manager between prescribing and dispensing drug, and the effect of mutual check between prescribing doctors and dispensing pharmacists. Participation in the separation system is legally optional for Japanese medical institutions. It causes that the growth rate of the separation system in administrative districts is wide range. Furthermore, this study investigated the separation system in Japanese administrative districts with available open public data. We examined the separation system effect using National Healthcare Insurance data for 2011–2015. We tested whether the separation system growth rate for each Japanese administrative district was correlated to former drug significantly, generic drug, medical device price, and the number of drugs on prescriptions. The results show that growth of the separation system influenced the daily expense of prescribed former drugs and medical devices and the correlations were significant. Contrastively, the number of drugs and the expense of generic drugs on prescriptions were not significantly correlated with the separation system growth rate. Therefore, the separation system was effective at curtailing expenses of daily former drugs and medical devices but little effective at curtailing the number of daily drugs and generic drugs expense.

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