PurposeInappropriate use of medicines causes increased morbidity, mortality, adverse drug reactions, therapeutic failures and drug resistance as well as wastes valuable resources. Evidence-based cost-effective treatment recommendations of essential medicines are a way of avoiding these. We assessed primary care prescribers' knowledge about and perceptions of an essential medicines formulary, as well as the reasons for adhering to the recommendations.
MethodsWe conducted a web based questionnaire survey targeting all physicians working in the primary healthcare of the Stockholm healthcare region (2.3 million inhabitants), regarding the knowledge of, attitudes to and usefulness of the essential medicines formulary of the Stockholm Drug and Therapeutics Committee, the so-called Wise List.
ResultsOf the 1862 physicians reached by our e-mail invitations, 526 (28%) participated in the survey. All but one respondent knew of the formulary, and 72% used it at least once a week when prescribing. The main reason for using the formulary was evidence-based prescribing; 97% trusted the guidelines, and almost all (98%) found the content easy to understand. At the same time, many prescribers thought that the annual changes of some recommendations were too frequent, and some felt that a national formulary would increase its trustworthiness.
ConclusionsWe found that the essential medicines formulary was widely used and trusted by the prescribers. The high uptake of the treatment recommendations could be due to the Stockholm Drug and Therapeutics Committee's transparent process for developing recommendations involving respected experts and clinicians using strict criteria for handling potential conflicts of interest, feedback to prescribers, continuous medical education and minor financial incentives.
SUBMITTER: Eriksen J