Toilet Paper, Minced Meat and Diabetes Medicines: Australian Panic Buying Induced by COVID-19

Article


Engstrom, Teyl, Baliunas, Dolly O., Sly, Benjamin P., Russell, Anthony W., Donovan, Peter J., Krausse, Heike K., Sullivan, Clair M. and Pole, Jason D. Pole. 2021. "Toilet Paper, Minced Meat and Diabetes Medicines: Australian Panic Buying Induced by COVID-19." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18 (13). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136954
Article Title

Toilet Paper, Minced Meat and Diabetes Medicines: Australian Panic Buying Induced by COVID-19

ERA Journal ID44293
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsEngstrom, Teyl, Baliunas, Dolly O., Sly, Benjamin P., Russell, Anthony W., Donovan, Peter J., Krausse, Heike K., Sullivan, Clair M. and Pole, Jason D. Pole
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Journal Citation18 (13)
Article Number6954
Number of Pages9
Year2021
PublisherMDPI AG
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISSN1660-4601
1661-7827
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136954
Web Address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/13/6954
AbstractThe COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the management of non-communicable diseases in health systems around the world. This study aimed to understand the impact of COVID-19 on diabetes medicines dispensed in Australia. Publicly available data from Australia's government subsidised medicines program (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme), detailing prescriptions by month dispensed to patients, drug item code and patient category, was obtained from January 2016 to November 2020. This study focused on medicines used in diabetes care (Anatomical Therapeutical Chemical code level 2 = A10). Number of prescriptions dispensed were plotted by month at a total level, by insulins and non-insulins, and by patient category (general, concessional). Total number of prescriptions dispensed between January and November of each year were compared. A peak in prescriptions dispensed in March 2020 was identified, an increase of 35% on March 2019, compared to average growth of 7.2% in previous years. Prescriptions dispensed subsequently fell in April and May 2020 to levels below the corresponding months in 2019. These trends were observed across insulins, non-insulins, general and concessional patient categories. The peak and subsequent dip in demand have resulted in a small unexpected overall increase for the period January to November 2020, compared to declining growth for the same months in prior years. The observed change in consumer behaviour prompted by COVID-19 and the resulting public health measures is important to understand in order to improve management of medicines supply during potential future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics.
Keywordshealth services research; diabetes; COVID-19; routinely collected health data; health behaviour
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420311. Health systems
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
School of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Toronto, Canada
Princess Alexandra Hospital, Australia
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Australia
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