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Korean J Hepatol. 2007 Mar;13(1):34-43. Korean. Original Article.
Yoo TW , Kim BI , Kim JB , Kim DJ , Kim JW , Baik SK , Kim KS , Cheon GJ .
Department of Internal Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea.
Hallym University, Chunchon, Korea.
Yonsei University, Wonju, Korea.
Ulsan University, Gangneung, Korea.

BACKGROUNDS/AIMS: In Korea, interests in health and health care costs have been increased along with the increase of mean survival rate and income level. The aim of this study is to investigate the actual condition of drug medication and burden of health care cost. METHODS: A total of 1,434 subjects in four tertiary medical centers were enrolled in this study. The questionnaires were obtained between March 2005 and September 2005. Based on this information, the actual condition of drug medication and health care cost were analyzed. RESULTS: The mean age of the subjects was 55.0+/-11.4 years (16-87 years). The male and female ratio was 1.74:1. The subjects with drug medication except for doctor's prescription are presently 26.6% and were 40.9% in the past. Traditional medicine (39.6%) and health food (29.9%) are more frequently used than herbal medicine (5.8%) and medical supplies (4.2%) now. In the past, herbal medicine (14.6%) was more frequently used compared with the present. The side effects of drug medication were developed in 90 subjects (7.5%). The total mean health care costs were 895,000 won/year, the herbal medicine, 834,000 won/year, the health food, 950,000 won/year, and the traditional medicine, 324,000 won/year. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, the subjects with other drug medications without doctor's prescription were as high as ever. The frequency of the use of the herbal medicine was decreased. However, the frequency for the use of the health food and traditional medicine have relatively increased. The side effects and additional large amounts of health care costs were occurred.

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