Combination of prescribing restrictions and policies to engineer low prices to reduce reimbursement costs

Brian Godman*, Solveig Sakshaug, Christian Berg, Björn Wettermark, Alan Haycox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To primarily document the influence of recent changes in the pricing policies for generics and originators in Norway, coupled with prescribing restrictions for both the proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and statins, on subsequent prescribing efficiency, to provide possible examples to other countries. Second, to review the impact of prescribing restrictions on ezetimibe utilization in Norway compared with other European countries, again to provide guidance. Methods: A retrospective observational study using data from the Norwegian Drug Wholesales Statistics to evaluate changes in utilization patterns for the PPIs and statins from 2001 to 2009, and the Norwegian Prescription Database for expenditure data from January 2004 to 2009. Reforms validated with key personnel at the Norwegian Medicines Agency. Results: Atorvastatin utilization as measured by defined daily doses decreased after prescribing restrictions. This, coupled with increased utilization of generic simvastatin at only 15% of prepatent loss prices in recent years, led to a 55% decrease in statin expenditure in Norway between 2004 and 2009 despite appreciably increased utilization. Utilization of esomeprazole also fell following prescribing restrictions, but to a lesser extent. This reduction, coupled with low prices for generics as a result of recent pricing policies, resulted in PPI expenditure decreasing by 27% during the same period despite again appreciably increased utilization. Conclusions: Policies to reduce the price of generics have been successfully introduced in Norway despite its small population size versus a number of other Western European countries. Prescribing restrictions have also been successfully introduced, mirroring the influence with multifaceted reforms in other European countries. The same applies to ezetimibe with utilization at only 1.9% of total statin and ezetimibe utilization in 2009. However, the difference in subsequent utilization patterns for atorvastatin versus esomeprazole makes it a challenge for health authorities to predict the ultimate impact of such measures. This requires further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-129
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Review of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • efficiency
  • generics
  • prescribing restrictions
  • reference pricing


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