Information Technology, Access, and Overuse of Prescription Drugs

Monday, June 24, 2019: 3:45 PM
Wilson A - Mezzanine Level (Marriott Wardman Park Hotel)

Presenter: Liisa Laine

Co-Authors: Petri Böckerman; Mika Kortelainen; Mikko Nurminen; Tanja Saxell

Discussant: Austin Bean

We exploit a large-scale natural experiment - the rollout of a nationwide electronic prescribing system in Finland - to study how digitization of prescriptions affects pharmaceutical use and health outcomes. We use comprehensive administrative data from patients treated with benzodiazepines, which are globally popular, effective but addictive psychotropic medications. We find no impact on benzodiazepine use on average, but among younger patients e-prescribing increases repeat prescription use. Younger patients’ health outcomes do not improve but adverse outcomes, such as prescription drug abuse disorders and suicide attempts, increase dramatically. Easier access to medication through the technology may thus increase medication overuse.

Full Papers: