Socioeconomic Determinants of Prescribed and Non-presribed Medicine Consumption in Austria

Susanne Mayer, August Österle

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


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.
Seiten (von - bis)597 - 603
FachzeitschriftEuropean Journal of Public Health
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2015

Österreichische Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige (ÖFOS)

  • 509012 Sozialpolitik
  • 303010 Gesundheitsökonomie
  • 303012 Gesundheitswissenschaften

Dieses zitieren