The supply of prescription drugs to children decreased during the pandemic

HealthDay News – From April through December 2020, prescription medication sales to children were 27.1 percent lower than the same period in 2019.

Kao-Ping Chua, MD, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined changes in the monthly number of prescriptions issued to U.S. children ages 0-19 between April and December 2018 and 2020 2020 and April to December 2019.

The researchers found that the average monthly number of prescriptions issued to children between January 2018 and February 2020 was 25,744,758. Between March and April 2020 there was a decrease in total spend from 25,684,219 to 16,742,568, followed by an increase to 19,657,289 in October 2020 and a further decrease to 15,821,914 in December 2020. From April to December 2020 the Total spending 27.1 percent lower than April to December 2019 (160,630,406 versus 220,284,613). Among the three drug classes with the most prescriptions in 2019, the corresponding percentage changes were -55.6, -11.8 and 0.1 percent, respectively, for antibiotics, drugs for attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder, and antidepressants. The percentage changes were −51.3 and −17.4 percent for the drug classes that typically treat acute infections or chronic diseases.

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“The reduced supply of drugs for chronic diseases to children during the pandemic is potentially worrying and warrants further investigation,” the authors write. “On the other hand, declines in the supply of infection-related drugs such as antitussives and antibiotics can be a welcome development.”

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