Objectives: To assess the National Health Insurance Fund Sudan medicine expenditure trends over the period between 2006 and 2010. Methods: The NHIF-Sudan medicine lists for 2006 and 2007 were classified according to the ATC system. Tools for analysing aggregate medicine data were used. The medicine consumption in terms of cost was analysed using therapeutic category analysis. Results: Total medicine expenditure was SDG 232.03 million which approximates to USD 86.90 million. The overall medicine expenditure increased by 391.95 %. The medicine classes that accounted for the highest expenditure were: first level (anatomical main group) - general anti-infectives for systemic use (40.37%); alimentary tract and metabolism (14.11%); cardiovascular system (9.79%); and anti-parasitic products, insecticides and repellents (8.62%). These classes were responsible for approximately two-thirds of the medicine expenditure (72.89%). ATC main groups that account for the highest contribution to the increase in total medicine expenditure: first level (anatomical main group) - general anti-infectives for systemic use (48.59%); alimentary tract and metabolism (16.16%); blood and blood-forming organs (8.77%); and cardiovascular system (7.74%). These four classes were responsible for most of the total increase in medicine expenditures (81.26%). Conclusion: The results clearly show that medicine expenditure has significantly increased and confirmed that policy-makers in NHIF-Sudan are in need of better understanding of medicine expenditure and related issues.
Key words: ATC system, Medicine expenditure, Sudan National Health Insurance Fund, Therapeutic category analysis, Anti-bacterials for systemic use.