Quotation Mayer, Susanne, Österle, August. 2015. Socioeconomic Determinants of Prescribed and Non-presribed Medicine Consumption in Austria. European Journal of Public Health 25 (4): S. 597-603.




Background: Equitable access to health care is a goal subscribed to in many European economies. But while a growing body of literature studies socioeconomic inequalities in health service use, relatively little is still known about inequalities in medicine consumption. Against this background, this study investigates the (socioeconomic) determinants of medicine use in the Austrian context. Methods: Multivariate logistic regressions were estimated based on the European Health Interview Survey, including representative information of the Austrian population above age 25 (n = 13 291) for 2006/2007. As dependent variables, we used prescribed and non-prescribed medicine consumption as well as prescribed polypharmacy. Socioeconomic status was operationalized by employment status, education and net equivalent income. Health indicators (self-assessed health, chronic conditions), demographic characteristics (age, sex) and outpatient visits were included as control variables. Results: Socioeconomic status revealed opposing utilization patterns: while individuals with higher education and income were more likely to consume non-prescribed medicines, the less educated were more likely to take prescribed medicines. Lower socioeconomic groups also showed a higher likelihood for prescribed polypharmacy. For the consumption of both medicine types, the main socioeconomic determinant was high income. In an additional analysis, lower socioeconomic groups were found to more likely report prescription purposes as the main reason for consulting a practitioner. Conclusion: These results point to different behavioural responses to ill health, not least determined by institutional incentives in the Austrian health care system.


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Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal European Journal of Public Health
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title Socioeconomic Determinants of Prescribed and Non-presribed Medicine Consumption in Austria
Volume 25
Number 4
Year 2015
Page from 597
Page to 603
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cku179


Mayer, Susanne (Former researcher)
Österle, August (Details)
Institute for Social Policy IN (Details)
Research Institute for Health Care Management and Economics FI (Former organization)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
3925 Health sciences (Details)
5346 Economics of the health system (Details)
5911 Social policy (Details)
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