The 2022 EPiC Annual Prescribing Report, published by Pharmac-sponsored educators He Ako Hiringa, is now available online and highlights some real wins in primary care prescribing, as well as signalling some areas for improvement.
The report, presented as an interactive dashboard, helps primary care clinicians quickly focus on key problems of national prescribing practice such as polypharmacy and medicine underutilisation in different populations.
The report shows significant movement towards getting key medicines to priority patient groups, as well as the continuing reduction in prescribing of opioid analgesics to young people.
EPiC lead analyst, Dr Alesha Smith, says “It is great to see that equity-informed funding, combined with motivated primary care prescribers, has jet-propelled empagliflozin into the top five medicines used for diabetes. Dispensing of LABAs to Māori compared to other ethnicities looks great too, although more work with Pacific peoples is needed”.
One data story that surprised Dr Smith was the significant ethnic disparity in prescribing for mental health.
“European/Other ethnicities have significantly higher use of antidepressants than Māori, Asian and Pacific peoples. It’s unlikely there is this much variation in prevalence of mental health disorders, so we need to consider that there may be insufficient access to antidepressant medicines for certain ethnicities” commented Dr Smith.