This study tested and evaluated a new way of comparing drug use between Canadian jurisdictions — a method that makes adjustment for drugs that come in different strengths, recommended dosages, and formulations. Researchers tested the efficacy of the World Health Organization’s defined daily dose (DDD) system for making comparisons on an entire class of drugs, in this case anti-infective agents for oral use (e.g., amoxicillin). They identified individual medications used in three provinces (Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan) in three fiscal years, manually coded them into anatomical therapeutic chemical (ATC) codes, then calculated the number of DDDs of each medication that were filled per 1,000 beneficiaries per year. This allowed them to describe use by province, by drug, and by patient subgroup within both the general population (Manitoba, Saskatchewan) and senior citizen population (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia). They found that the use of anti-infective agents decreased in Saskatchewan, increased in Nova Scotia, and went down, and then up again, in Manitoba during the three-year study period.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.