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Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on community medication dispensing: a national cohort analysis in Wales, UK

Fatemeh Torabi Orcid Logo, Ashley Akbari Orcid Logo, Stuart Bedston, Gareth Davies Orcid Logo, Hoda Abbasizanjani Orcid Logo, Michael Gravenor Orcid Logo, Rowena Griffiths, Daniel Harris, Neil Jenkins, Jane Lyons, Andrew Morris Orcid Logo, Laura North, Julian Halcox Orcid Logo, Ronan Lyons Orcid Logo

International Journal of Population Data Science, Volume: 5, Issue: 4

Swansea University Authors: Fatemeh Torabi Orcid Logo, Ashley Akbari Orcid Logo, Stuart Bedston, Gareth Davies Orcid Logo, Hoda Abbasizanjani Orcid Logo, Michael Gravenor Orcid Logo, Rowena Griffiths, Daniel Harris, Jane Lyons, Andrew Morris Orcid Logo, Laura North, Julian Halcox Orcid Logo, Ronan Lyons Orcid Logo

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Abstract

BackgroundPopulation-level information on dispensed medication provides insight on the distribution of treated morbidities, particularly if linked to other population-scale data at an individual-level.ObjectiveTo evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on dispensing patterns of medications.MethodsRetrospect...

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Published in: International Journal of Population Data Science
ISSN: 2399-4908
Published: Swansea University 2022
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa59976
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Abstract: BackgroundPopulation-level information on dispensed medication provides insight on the distribution of treated morbidities, particularly if linked to other population-scale data at an individual-level.ObjectiveTo evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on dispensing patterns of medications.MethodsRetrospective observational study using population-scale, individual-level dispensing records in Wales, UK. Total dispensed drug items for the population between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2019 (3-years, pre-COVID-19) were compared to 2020 with follow up until 27th July 2021 (COVID-19 period). We compared trends across all years and British National Formulary (BNF) chapters and highlighted the trends in three major chapters for 2019-21: 1-Cardiovascular system (CVD); 2-Central Nervous System (CNS); 3-Immunological & Vaccine. We developed an interactive dashboard to enable monitoring of changes as the pandemic evolves.ResultAmongst all BNF chapters, 73,410,543 items were dispensed in 2020 compared to 74,121,180 items in 2019 demonstrating -0.96% relative decrease in 2020. Comparison of monthly patterns showed average difference (D) of -59,220 and average Relative Change (RC) of -0.74% between the number of dispensed items in 2020 and 2019. Maximum RC was observed in March 2020 (D= +1,224,909 and RC= +20.62%), followed by second peak in June 2020 (D= +257,920, RC= +4.50%). A third peak was observed in September 2020 (D= +264,138, RC= +4.35%). Large increases in March 2020 were observed for CVD and CNS medications across all age groups. The Immunological and Vaccine products dropped to very low levels across all age groups and all months (including the March dispensing peak).ConclusionsReconfiguration of routine clinical services during COVID-19 led to substantial changes in community pharmacy drug dispensing. This change may contribute to a long-term burden of COVID-19, raising the importance of a comprehensive and timely monitoring of changes for evaluation of the potential impact on clinical care and outcomes.
Keywords: community dispensing; dispensed medication; public health; COVID-19; interactive dispensing dashboard
College: Swansea University Medical School
Funders: This work was supported by the Con-COV team funded by theMedical Research Council (grant number: MR/V028367/1).This work was supported by Health Data Research UK, whichreceives its funding from HDR UK Ltd (HDR-9006) funded bythe UK Medical Research Council, Engineering and PhysicalSciences Research Council, Economic and Social ResearchCouncil, Department of Health and Social Care (England),Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health andSocial Care Directorates, Health and Social Care Researchand Development Division (Welsh Government), Public HealthAgency (Northern Ireland), British Heart Foundation (BHF)and the Wellcome Trust. This work was supported by the ADRWales programme of work. ADR Wales is part of theEconomic and Social Research Council (part of UK Researchand Innovation) funded ADR UK (grant ES/S007393/1). Thiswork was supported by the Wales COVID-19 Evidence Centre,funded by Health and Care Research Wales.
Issue: 4