International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 386–392 | Cite as

Worldwide analysis of factors associated with medicines compendia publishing

  • Blanca Arguello
  • Fernando Fernandez-LlimosEmail author
Research Article


Background Medicines compendia, also called formularies, are the most commonly used drug information source among health care professionals. Objective The aim was to identify the countries publishing medicines compendia and the socio-demographic factors associated to this fact. Additionally, we sought to determine the use of foreign compendia in countries lacking their own. Setting Global web-based survey. Method Healthcare practitioners and researchers from 193 countries worldwide were invited to complete a web-based survey. The questionnaire investigated the existence of a national compendium, or the use of foreign compendia in the absence of one. Demographic and socioeconomic variables were used to predict compendia publishing through a multivariate analysis. Main outcome measure Existence of national medicines compendia and foreign compendia used. Results Professionals from 132 countries completed the survey (response rate at a country level 68.4 %, comprising 90.9 % global population). Eighty-four countries (63.6 %) reported publishing a medicines compendium. In the multivariate analysis, only two covariates had significant association with compendia publishing. Being a member of the Organisation for the Economic Cooperation and Development was the only variable positively associated with compendia publishing (OR = 37.5; 95 % CI = 2.3:599.8). In contrast, the countries that listed French as an official language were less likely to publish a compendium (OR = 0.07; 95 % CI = 0.007:0.585). Countries without national compendia reported using the British National Formulary most commonly, followed by the Dictionnaire Vidal. Conclusion Publication of medicines compendia is associated with socio-economic development. Countries lacking a national compendium, use foreign compendia from higher-income countries. Creating an international medicines compendium under the leadership of the World Health Organisation, rather than merely a ‘model’, would reduce the risks of using information sources not-adapted to the necessities of developing countries.


Drug information services Economic development Reference books, medical Survey 



We like to thank all respondents for their valuable contributions.


This study had not received any external funding.

Conflicts of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interests regarding this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Pharmacy, Faculdade de FarmaciaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Pharmacoepidemiology and Social Pharmacy UnitResearch Institute for Medicines and Pharmaceutical Sciences (iMed.UL), University of LisbonLisbonPortugal

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