Self-medication model and evidence from Portugal
Purpose ‐ The self-medication (SM) practice has been increasing in Europe, due to either an information policy for medicinal products or to highly educated people. The paper aims to consider a time constraint in the consumer decision optimization problem and test the optimal choices, using data from Portugal. Moreover, the author tries to understand the factors that determine the choice of SM. Design/methodology/approach ‐ First, the paper finds the optimal choices of a consumer using consumer theory. Then, the paper uses data from Portugal which is characterised by a universal public health system. The paper estimates a simple probit for SM. The estimation is run on adults, and also on gender and on age subsamples. Findings ‐ The main results show that waiting time is not a simple concept. While people may accept waiting a long time for an appointment and may not choose SM; waiting in the doctor's office is looked down upon and so choosing SM seems to be faster and more preferable. The results also show that there are some differences in the factors that explain SM according to age and gender, which matters for policy purposes. Originality/value ‐ The empirical work on SM in Europe is original. Taking into account a time constraint is new in the agent decision model of health demand.
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