Retrospective review of medicine utilization for noncommunicable diseases in three public sector pharmacies in Jamaica

Wynter-Adams et al.


The rational use of medicines offers a cost-saving strategy to maximize therapeutic outcomes for developing and developed countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the rational use of medicines for selected noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) at three pharmacies at public hospitals in Jamaica using the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) prescribing indicators.


In this retrospective cross-sectional study, prescriptions for adult outpatients containing at least one medicine for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma that were filled between January and July 2019 were reviewed using WHO’s prescribing indicators for the rational use of medicines. Data were analyzed and expressed as descriptive and inferential statistics. For all analyses conducted, significance was determined at P < 0.05.


A total of 1 500 prescriptions covering 5 979 medicines were reviewed; prescriptions were mostly written for female patients aged 42–60 years. Polypharmacy was observed in 35.6% (534) of prescriptions, and there was an average of 4 medicines per prescription, with a maximum of 17. Most of the prescriptions at each site were filled, with the main reason for not dispensing a medicine being that it was out of stock. Generic prescribing was high for all sites, accounting for more than 95% (5 722) of prescribed medicines. There was full compliance with prescribing according to the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines at two of the sites, but it was just off the target at Site 1, by 1.4%.


The WHO guidelines for the rational use of medicines were followed with respect to the proportion of medicines prescribed from the WHO Model List and the proportion of antibiotics prescribed. The number of medicines per prescription and the proportion of medicines prescribed by generic name did not meet the WHO criteria. However, prescribing was aligned with treatment guidelines for the selected NCDs.

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