Evaluation of drug use indicators for non-communicable diseases in Pakistan

Humayun Riaz, Brian Godman, Sajid Bashir, Shahzad Hussain, Sidra Mahmood, Durdana Waseem*, Farnaz Malik, Syed Atif Raza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Irrational drug use practices are a burden to healthcare facilities. Poor prescribing practices affect the overall management and cost of treatment of non-communicable diseases that are the major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. In an effort to improve prescribing practices, this study was designed to assess prescribing, consultation and facility indicators in healthcare facilities of Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan from December 2012 to December 2013. In this cross-sectional study, random and convenient sampling were used to collected data from both private and public healthcare facilities. Quantitative data were collected using structured questionnaire, observations and prescription analysis, whereas qualitative information on factors influencing prescribing practices was obtained by interviewing medical practitioners. A total of 13693 prescriptions were obtained from 500 patient-prescriber encounters. Results show that history taking, physical examination and diagnoses were adequate while generic prescribing was four-fold less than drugs prescribed by brands. Average number of drugs prescribed was 4.63 with more prescribing tendency in private facilities. 45.07% prescription costs were less than Rs. 150. Sulfonylureas, statins and ACE inhibitors were highly prescribed drugs for diabetes, hyperlipidemia and hypertension. Prescribing practices were dominantly influenced by severity of disease (73% Punjab; 81% Sindh), patient age (75% Punjab; 68% Sindh) and availability of drugs (62% Punjab; 56% Sindh) whereby 91% practitioners in Sindh and 52% in Punjab rely on medical representatives as the source of drug information. Moreover, the pharmacy and therapeutic committees in all facilities were non-functional along with non-availability of essential drug list in 87% health facilities. Thus, there are considerable opportunities to improve the rational use of medicines in Pakistan including low prices for generics, physician education, prescribing guidelines and formularies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-794
Number of pages8
JournalActa Poloniae Pharmaceutica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Generics
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Pakistan
  • Prescribing indicators


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