Inequitable and cost-inefficient allocation of scarce resources has been found to be a key problem in the management of heart attack and severe angina patients in China, according to the results of a study announced today at the World Congress of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain.
"China's health care system has undergone considerable changes toward a 'fee for service' model where access to treatment is affected by a patient's ability to pay," said Professor GAO Runlin, Chairman of the Chinese Society of Cardiology. Professor GAO reported that the level of treatment given to a heart patient in China did not directly equate to the patient's risk of subsequent death or disability.
Researchers, at The George Institute for International Health in Sydney and the Chinese Society of Cardiology discovered that, while effective treatments are often available, the decision to provide more costly treatments in hospital was not determined primarily by the likelihood of clinical benefit, but rather by a patient's socioeconomic status, or ability to pay for services. The study also found that relatively inexpensive drug therapies that are highly effective in reducing the risks of future heart attack were frequently prescribed to patients on discharge from hospital, but a patient's use of these drugs diminished rapidly once they went home.
Coronary heart disease has emerged as a leading cause of morbidity and premature death in China today. As the burden of cardiovascular diseases rise in China, so will the numbers of patients presenting with heart attack and related complications. Statistics from the World Health Organization's Global Burden of Diseases Study predict deaths from cardiovascular diseases in China are likely to quadruple to four million per year by 2020.
"Patterns of current practice in managing Acute Coronary Syndromes, commonly known as heart attack and severe angina, reflect choices made by our clinicians towards prescri
Contact: Emma Orpilla