Effects of a behaviour independent financial incentive on prescribing behaviour of general practitioners

J Eval Clin Pract. 2007 Jun;13(3):369-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2006.00707.x.


Rationale and objectives: It is difficult to keep control over prescribing behaviour in general practice. The purpose of this study was to assess the initial effects of a behaviour independent financial incentive on the volume of drug prescribing of general practitioners (GPs).

Design: 2-Year Controlled Before After study with an intervention region and a concurrent control region.

Setting and participants: GPs in two regions in the Netherlands (n = 119 and n = 118).

Intervention: A financial incentive for prescribing according to local guidelines on specific drugs or drug categories. The financial incentive consisted of a non-recurrent, behaviour-independent allowance.

Main outcome measure: Change in the number of prescriptions for 10 targeted drugs or drug groups.

Results: Significant changes were seen only in three types of antibiotics and in recommended gastric medicines. In almost all cases, effects were temporary.

Conclusion: Behaviour independent financial incentives can be a help in changing prescription behaviour of GPs, but effects are small-scale and temporary.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Review
  • National Health Programs
  • Netherlands
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Reimbursement, Incentive*
  • Retrospective Studies