Studies provide over – and underuse of medicine worldwide

A person pharmaceutical tablets and capsules in illustration picture in Ljubljana

(Copyright Reuters 2017)

LONDON – up to 70 percent of the hysterectomies in the United States, a quarter of knee replacements in Spain and more than half of the antibiotics prescribed in China are inappropriate, widely used in health care, researchers said on Monday.

Experts that a series of studies around the world found that the medicine and health care are routinely both over – or underutilized, causing avoidable harm and suffering and the waste of precious resources.

The study, commissioned by The journal the Lancet and conducted by 27 international experts, who are also the rates of Caesarean deliveries are increasing, often women, that they don’t need, while the simple use of steroids to prevent premature births remained for 40 years.

“A well-known tragedy in both rich and poor countries is the use of expensive and sometimes not effective technology, while the low-cost effective interventions are neglected,” the experts wrote in a statement about their findings.

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The World Health Organization estimates that 6.2 million of excess C-sections are performed each year, 50 percent of them in Brazil and China only.

Vikas Saini, one of the lead authors of the study series and the U.S. president, Lown Institute in Boston, said factors that the global failure and the appropriate level of care are “greed, conflicts of interest and poor information’, in which he said combine to create ” an ecosystem of bad health care.”

Co-principal investigator Shannon Brownlee added: “Patients and citizens need to understand what is at stake here as their health systems fail to address these two problems. In the USA, we are wasting billions of dollars that should be spent on improving the nation’s health.”

The study series analysis of the extent, the causes and consequences of underuse and overuse of health care all over the world. It turned out that both can occur in the same country, same organization or the health facility, and even afflict the same patient.

The researchers noted that a study in China found 57 percent of the patients received inappropriate antibiotics; inappropriate hysterectomy in the United States range from 16 to 70 percent; and inappropriate total knee replacement rates were 26 percent in Spain and 34 percent in the United States.

Rates of inappropriate hysterectomy were 20 percent in Taiwan and 13 percent in Switzerland, they found.

A lta use leaves patients vulnerable to avoidable illness and suffering,” the researchers said, while excessive use causes preventable harm of tests or treatments at the same time as the waste of resources better spent on the much needed services.

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