A health-check for sick spending in Chile
International Pharmacy PhD student Antonio Ahumada-Canale is trying to restore the balance to Chile’s health spending with a cardiovascular prevention review.
More people die yearly from cardiovascular disease than from anything else. There’s a good chance that you already know someone who has a cardiovascular disease. The statistics are sobering, with one out of every three us probably dying because of it.
Billions of dollars are spent globally on cardiovascular diseases. Australia alone spends over 4 billion dollars each year just on high cholesterol. However, over three quarters of cardiovascular disease deaths take place in low and middle-income countries.
Pharmacy PhD student Antonio Ahumada-Canale is looking at what his country, Chile, is doing to make sure their cardiovascular disease health budget is money well spent.
“What if I told you that for every $4 you spent; one goes on cardiovascular diseases?”
Chile’s population is just under 18 million people. However, 80% of the population gets only 20% of the healthcare funding.
“Five years ago, the Chilean government hired pharmacists so they could bridge this gap. But since they were new to the system, no one really knew what to do with them. So, they started the Polaris Project.”
In the end, what we hope for the project is that it will give this sick health system a loading dose of equality.
Pharmacy PhD student
The Polaris Project is about medication review. The Chilean Ministry of Health, together with UTS, another Chilean university, local health services and municipalities are working together on this project.
It’s an intervention that wants to go beyond just dispensing pharmaceuticals. It aims to set up a collaboration between pharmacists, patients and general practitioners.
“The project has been proven to be clinically effective but it’s not yet known whether it is cost-effective.”
Antonio is currently looking at the differences between the cost and the effects. He believes that people’s preferences matter and is using quality of life as an outcome measure.
His project aims to provide a tool for government decision makers to see if they’re getting value for their country’s money.
“In the end, what we hope for the project is that it will give this sick health system a loading dose of equality.”