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#HEJC for 01/04/2013 (new time!)

This month’s meeting will take place Monday 1st April, at 5pm London time. That’ll be 6pm in Cape Town and 7pm in Riga. Join the Facebook event here. We’ll also hold an antipodal meeting on Tuesday 2nd April, at 5am London time. That’ll be 2pm in Brisbane and 9pm on Monday in Seattle. Join the Facebook event here. For more information about the Health Economics Twitter Journal Club and how to take part, click here.

The paper for discussion this month is a working paper published by the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Sweden. The authors are Sara Fogelberg and Jonas Karlsson. The title of the paper is:

“Competition and antibiotics prescription”

Following the meeting, a transcript of the discussion can be downloaded here.

Links to the article



Other: tbc

Summary of the paper

Antibiotics resistance is an increasingly apparent problem in medicine, with the prevalence of multi-resistant bacteria on the rise. Over-prescription of antibiotics has short- and long-term implications for public health. Furthermore, there is much debate about the role of competition in healthcare provision. This paper investigates the effect of increased competition between healthcare providers on the prescription of antibiotics. The authors hypothesise that, as a result of increased competition, doctors may be inclined to prescribe more antibiotics in order to meet patients’ demand. The study makes use of a natural experiment where competition-inducing reform was implemented in different counties in Sweden at different points in time during 2007 to 2010. The dataset contains monthly data on all prescribed antibiotics in Sweden, including those defined as narrow spectrum and broad spectrum antibiotics. The authors implement a difference in differences model. The results indicate that increased competition had a positive and significant effect on antibiotics prescription.

Discussion points

  • What is the significance of Swedish reimbursement processes?
  • What does this study tell us about patients’ and doctors’ preferences for antibiotics?
  • What are the implications for the UK and other countries?
  • How can this study inform the debate about competition in healthcare?

Missed the meeting? Add your thoughts on the paper in the comments below.

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