AE Impact Story: Impact of Legislative Change on Demand for Medicines in Barbados

Aim of the Project

In early 2011, the Government of Barbados introduced a dispensing fee for prescriptions filled at private pharmacies. This fee, the equivalent of 30% of the cost of the medicine, was expected to raise US$6 million for the Government and reduce the budget of the Barbados Drug Service by US$8.7 million.

The goal of this project was to identify the implications of this policy change for the demand for medicines, and identify a strategy that would stimulate continued growth for our client.

What We Did

We conducted a comprehensive assessment of the key policy documents related to Barbados’ policy regarding medicines, and surveyed and interviewed four key stakeholder groups: (1) consumers; (2) doctors; (3) pharmacists; and, (4) government and international health agencies. We needed to understand how their behaviour had evolved since the change in policy, as well as their views on how the market demand for medicines would continue to evolve.

The results of the secondary research and surveys formed the inputs into a forecast model to simulate the likely impact of the policy change on market demand over time. In addition, an assessment of the behavioural changes likely to have been adopted by pharmacists, doctors and consumers was provided.


The results were used by the client to adjust their marketing and distribution policies in the Barbados market.

Their proactive approach allowed them to grow market share and maintain profitability, despite the negative impact of the policy change on overall market demand for medicines.