Is reclassifying the oral contraceptive pill from prescription to pharmacist-only cost-effective in Australia?

Wednesday 18 July 2018, 12.15PM to 1.15pm

Speaker(s): Dr Henry Cutler, Centre for the Health Economy, Macquarie University, Australia

Abstract: Unplanned pregnancies can lead to poorer maternal and child health outcomes. The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) committee rejected reclassifying a range of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) from prescription to pharmacist-only medicines in 2015 due to patient risk concerns, although an economic evaluation was not undertaken to inform their decision. Improving access to OCPs may encourage some women to use contraceptives or switch from other contraceptive methods. However, some adverse events (AEs) may increase and some women may stop using condoms, increasing their risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

This presentation presents results from a study that estimated the cost-effectiveness of reclassifying OCPs from prescription-only to pharmacist-only in Australia. Decision trees and a Markov model with 18 health states were built using data synthesised from a variety of sources. Contraceptive use before reclassification was estimated using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, while survey data informed use after reclassification. Health outcomes included pregnancies, pregnancy outcomes (live birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy and abortion), STIs, AEs (venous thromboembolism, depression, myocardial infarction and stroke), ovarian cancer cases, and Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs). 

Reclassifying OCPs to pharmacist only is estimated to result in 65,831 QALYs gained and A$4,500 million saved over 35 years (more effective and cost-saving). This should be considered cost-effective by Australian decision makers. The presentation concludes on the potential usefulness of using an economic evaluation approach to inform regulatory decisions regarding access to medicines in Australia.

Location: ARRC Auditorium A/RC/014

Who to contact

For more information on these seminars, contact:

Thomas Patton
Dina Jankovic

Economic evaluation seminar dates

  • Thursday 17 January
    Edward Cox, CHE, University of York
  • Thursday 21 February
    Sebastian Hinde, CHE, University of York
  • Thursday 21 March
    Alessandro Grosso, CHE, University of York