Barriers and Facilitators to the Use of Cardiovascular Fixed-Dose Combination Medication (Polypills) in Andhra Pradesh, India: A Mixed-Methods Study.

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Journal Article
Global heart, 2019, 14, (3), pp. 303-310
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BACKGROUND:Polypills, fixed-dose combinations of blood pressure-lowering drug(s), and statin, with or without aspirin, improve the use of these recommended drugs in patients with or at high risk of cardiovascular disease. However, in India, there has been poor uptake of polypills despite market availability. OBJECTIVES:This study sought to assess availability and cost of polypills and explore barriers and facilitators to their use in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. METHODS:A mixed-methods study was conducted. Availability and cost of polypills as well as individual component drugs was assessed through a survey of pharmacies across urban, urban slum, and rural regions in state of Andhra Pradesh in India. In-depth interviews with stakeholders at each level of the health system explored barriers and facilitators to use of polypills. RESULTS:Overall, 30 pharmacies were surveyed (10 in each of urban, urban slum, and rural region). In urban region, 2 pharmacies stocked polypills (without aspirin) costing 121 Indian rupees (INR) per 10 pills, and 1 other pharmacy stocked a polypill (with aspirin) costing 24 INR per 10 pills. All pharmacies stocked a wide range of component drugs as separate pills with combined cost of the cheapest angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, statin, and aspirin INR 124 per 10 pills. Patients were willing to use polypills if prescribed by their doctor, and pharmacies were willing to stock polypills if there was market demand. For prescribers, key barriers included perceptions that current polypills contained outdated drugs and inadequate flexibility in prescribing. CONCLUSIONS:In a market in which polypill use is licensed, their availability and use is very low. Lack of prescription of polypills was the predominant barrier to polypill use; therefore, making polypills with drugs that are more acceptable and at different available strengths, in conjunction with broader prescriber education and training, may improve their use.
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