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MEDUP – Medicine use & Pharmaceutical policy

Research group

Short description

MEDUP is a research group and a network for people who do research on medicine use and pharmaceutical policy. Research areas of interest are which medicines are used by different population groups, how they are used, outcomes of use, and factors affecting use at the individual and societal level.

Prescribing and use of medicines is largely influenced by policies that regulate availability and accessibility of medicines, which makes it important to study both the positive and negative effects of policies from different perspectives.

The field of science is social pharmacy, a multidisciplinary field, and the research is based on different perspectives: users / patients, professions, populations and society. The research group has an interest in and competence in both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Issues related to medicine use have become increasingly important in society. One reason is that each region must bear its own costs for medicines. Another reason is the combination of rising costs for medicines and the limited resources of healthcare. As a result, the requirements for drug treatment to be as appropriate as possible has increased.

It is also important that the medicines are used adequately and that they have the desired effect, especially from the user's perspective. Limited resources also mean that the effect of a given treatment must be in reasonable relation to the costs. Different pharmaceutical policies also have an impact on the treatment and use of medicines, and studying attitudes to and effects of such policies is also part of the research group's interest. One example is the re-regulation of the pharmacy market and the possibility of buying over-the-counter (OTC) medicines from other retailers.

The research group has conducted research in all sub-areas of social pharmacy:

  • Prescribing and use of medicines, and different outcomes of use
  • Strategies to improve medicine use in society: pharmaceutical policies and pharmaceutical interventions in pharmacies and healthcare
  • The pharmacy professions, pharmacy practice and collaboration with other healthcare professionals
  • Development of research methods in the field

Ongoing projects

Asthma is a common disease with the highest prevalence in groups with lower socioeconomic position. In order to prevent and reduce treatment inequity and contribute to good disease control among people with asthma, knowledge is needed about the extent of barriers to treatment and how the occurrence of barriers differs in different groups in society.The overall aim is to investigate and analyse the frequency of barriers to medical treatment among individuals with asthma in relation to adherence to treatment and asthma status. The project has a focus on vulnerable groups.

Project group: Tove Hedenrud (project  manager), Helle Håkonsen, Pernilla Bjerkeli (Högskolan i Skövde), Henry Ascher, Henric Rhedin, Ronny Larsson, Monica Leu Agelii.

It is well known that adherence to chronic prescription drug treatment is about 50%. One of the most common ways to measure adherence is self-report through a questionnaire. There are a large number of validated instruments to measure this, but most lack questions about overuse of medicines and questions about unintentional non-adherence are few. Some instruments are disease-specific and sometimes a large fee is required for availability. No instrument has been validated in Swedish. The aim of the project is to develop a Swedish, generic instrument for measuring adults' self-reported adherence to prescription drug treatment. The instrument will be available through Creative Commons.

Project group: Tove Hedenrud, Maria Emilsson (Högskolan Väst), Pernilla Bjerkeli (Högskolan i Skövde).

There is incontestable evidence that pollution from pharmaceuticals has environmental effects limiting the diversity of nature. The aim of this project is to investigate the Swedish population’s choice and preferences for medicines with different environmental risks and willingness to pay for preventive measures. Previous research indicate that the Swedish people to a certain extent are aware of the negative effects of pharmaceuticals in nature and are willing to contribute positively to the environment. In this project, we raise the question of how far this willingness extends.

Are people in Sweden willing to weigh the effect of the medicine against its environmental impact? Are we willing to pay a higher price for medicines in return for more efficient water purification systems? Is there a will to emphasize environmental factors when the authorities decide whether a new medicine should be included in the benefit system?

Project group: Helle Håkonsen (project  manager), Tove Hedenrud, Josefin Persson, Henric Rhedin, Simone Dohle (University of Cologne).

The Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg

The Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg started in 1968 by Professor Calle Bengtsson. A representative sample of women aged 38, 46, 50, 54 and 60 years were offered a health survey and answered a number of questionnaires about physical and mental health. Another six health surveys have been conducted, most recently in 2016, and new cohorts of women aged 38 and 50 years have been included. 

In addition to questions about health, there are also questions about medicine use. Ongoing studies include both medicine use over time and methodological studies of the included issues.

Project group: Tove Hedenrud, Helle Håkonsen, Dominique Hange, Gunilla Fernlöf

The Swedish pharmacy system has changed a lot in the last decade and changes may also have taken place in how pharmacies work to maintain patient safety. During inspections of pharmacies in recent years, the Medical Products Agency has found such serious deficiencies in some cases that pharmacies have been forced to close temporarily or close completely because patient safety could not be guaranteed. The aim of the project is to measure the patient safety climate at Swedish pharmacies. This concerns perceptions about policy, procedures and practice in patient safety issues in a workplace or in an organization. Studying the patient safety climate can be an important source of information and can be used as an effective starting point for achieving improvements or for evaluating changes that take place.

Project group: Christina Ljungberg Persson, Björn Södergård, Karolina Andersson Sundell