The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 257–267 | Cite as

Drug overprescription in nursing homes: an empirical evaluation of administrative data

  • Magdalena A. StrokaEmail author
Original Paper


A widely discussed shortcoming of long-term care in nursing homes for the elderly is the inappropriate or suboptimal drug utilization, particularly of psychotropic drugs. Using administrative data from the largest sickness fund in Germany, this study was designed to estimate the effect of institutionalization on the drug intake of the frail elderly. Difference-in-differences propensity score matching techniques were used to compare drug prescriptions for the frail elderly who entered a nursing home with those who remained in the outpatient care system; findings suggest that nursing home residents receive more doses of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and analgesics. The potential overprescription correlates with estimated drug costs of about €87 million per year.


Medication errors Patient safety Expenditures Drug over- and undersupply Medical costs 

JEL Classification




Helpful comments by Thomas Bauer, Hendrik Schmitz, and participants of the Annual Meeting of the DDGÖ (Bayreuth) are gratefully acknowledged. I am grateful to my colleagues from the WINEG for access to data of the Techniker Krankenkasse and to the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RWI EssenEssenGermany
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany
  3. 3.WINEG-Scientific Institute of TK for Benefit and Efficiency in Health CareHamburgGermany

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