Prescribing of bisphosphonates and antibiotics in Pakistan: challenges and opportunities for the future

Humayun Riaz, Brian Godman, Shahzad Hussain, Farnaz Malik, Sidra Mahmood, Ali Shami, Sajid Bashir

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21 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: The appropriate management of patients with osteoporosis and the rational use of antibiotics are growing concerns in Pakistan. The first step to improve patient care is to understand current prescribing patterns and the rationale behind these patterns. Aim: To assesses utilisation patterns, prescribing behaviour and the potential rationale among a range of medicines including bisphosphonates and antibiotics. Subsequently, use the findings to suggest potential future policies for all key stakeholders to improve patient care in the future. Methodology: A questionnaire based, cross-sectional study in both private and public health care facilities in Pakistan, conducted between January 2011 and December 2012, involving 438 physicians and15824 prescriptions. The second study involved 9984 outpatient prescriptions, 127 in-patient cases and over 100 prescribers and dispensers. Results: There was adequate history taking and examinations in approximately half of the physicians surveyed, with prescribing typically taking into account issues such as disease severity (84% of respondents) and the socioeconomic status of patients (53%). Prescribing of bisphosphonates was common certainly compared to medicines to treat cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. However, there are concerns with the low use of generics, high rate of antibiotic prescribing, variable availability of medicines, medical representatives being a key source of information on medicines and typically a limited number of formularies. Discussion: There are considerable opportunities to improve the rational use of medicines in Pakistan including physician education, prescribing guidance and formularies. In addition, educating patients and physicians concerning antibiotics. These should be co-ordinated among key stakeholder groups. There is also a need to ensure low prices for generics and enhance their utilisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research
Issue number2
Early online date31 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2015


  • bisphosphonates
  • antibiotics
  • Pakistan health care
  • influencing prescribing

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