New Publication by HEALTHDOX Researcher Björn Rönnerstrand on “Corruption and Use of Antibiotics in Regions of Europe”

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Björn Rönnerstrand

The HEALTHDOX Project investigates the current political determinants and policy consequences of post-1989 European health reforms. The end of the cold war was a turning point for many European health systems, with many post-socialist transition countries privatizing their state-run health systems, and many West and Southern European health systems experimenting with new public management and other market-oriented health reforms. The aim of the project is to document the policy changes that have taken place over the course of the 1990s and through the first decade and a half of the 21st century, and to evaluate the consequences of these reforms for health care provision, especially how these changes in the public-private mix in health affect individual attitudes towards the health system.

HEALTHDOX comprises seven country teams in six countries (Estonia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden) and has established a cooperative network comprised of researchers from all 28 European Union nations, as well as selected neighboring and accession candidate countries, among them Björn Rönnerstrand from the University of Gothenburg whose latest contribution investigates the association between corruption and antibiotic use at sub-national level.

In his article “Corruption and use of antibiotics in regions of Europe” co-authored by Victor Lapuente (Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg), he explores the correlation between, on the one hand, two measures of corruption (prevalence of corruption in the health sector and prevalence of bribes in the society) at regional level from the European Quality of Government Index; and, on the other, the consumption of antibiotics in those European regions from a 2009 Special Euro Barometer. After controlling for potential confounders as purchasing power of standardized regional gross domestic product, inhabitants per medical doctor and age-standardized all-cause mortality rates, the authors’ multivariate regression model approach shows, that there is a strong positive association between both measures of corruption (i.e. in the health sector, and in the society at large) and antibiotics use; and that this association is robust to the introduction of the control variables. These results support previous findings in the literature linking corruption to higher antibiotic use at cross-national level. The authors show that corruption does seem to account for some of the remarkable between-region variation in antibiotic consumption in Europe.

The article published in Health Policy can be accessed online via sciencedirect.