Self-medication and health insurance coverage in Mexico

Health Policy. 2006 Jan;75(2):170-7. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2005.03.007.


Self-medication is a common practice in many developing countries but little is known about its determinants. This study analyzes the factors that are associated with the use of self-medication in Mexico using the Mexican Health and Aging Study, a new nationally representative survey on adults aged 50 and over. We find that self-medication is related to socioeconomic status and the lack of access to professional healthcare. Our empirical results suggest that lack of government-sponsored health insurance coverage increases the propensity to self-medicate. A 10% increase in the proportion of adults with health insurance coverage could decrease the use of pharmacy consultations by .8% for public sector workers and by 1.7% for private sector workers. Increasing health insurance coverage could reduce the demand for self-medication by making healthcare more affordable and by changing the population perceptions about the benefits of modern medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage*
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Medication*