Ferrer P, Ballarín E, Sabate M, Laporte JR, Schoonen M, Rottenkolber M, Fortuny J, Hasford J, Tatt I, Ibanez L. Sources of European drug consumption data at a country level. Int J Public Health. 2014 Oct;59(5):877-87. doi: 10.1007/s00038-014-0564-8.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed at outlining the characteristics of nationwide administrative databases monitoring drug consumption in Europe.

METHODS: Internet and bibliographic databases (April 2010) were searched and experts in drug utilization (DU) research interviewed to find nationwide administrative medicines consumption databases in Europe, with data for the out- and inpatient healthcare sector. A questionnaire was developed to gather additional information. We collected data providers, websites, accessibility, data sources, healthcare settings, population coverage, medicines-related data, patient and prescriber data, periods covered, and linkage to other databases.

RESULTS: Thirty-one administrative nationwide medicine consumption databases in 25 countries were identified. Questionnaires were responded for 20 databases. Eleven provided wholesalers' sales data, 11 on reimbursed, 5 on prescribed, and 4 on dispensing medicines. Fifteen databases provided inpatient drug consumption data, mainly wholesalers' sales.

CONCLUSIONS: Nationwide administrative databases are of value to all stakeholders involved in the conduct and interpretation of post-marketing safety studies, and in the conduct of DU research. The endorsement of the anatomical therapeutic chemical/defined daily dose methodology by these databases contributes to data harmonization. However, there is still a lack of information on inpatient medicines consumption at a patient-level.

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