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Pediatric prescriptions plunged 76% in April amid coronavirus fears
  • By Kim Eun-young
  • Published 2020.05.26 15:45
  • Updated 2020.05.26 17:50
  • comments 0

Pediatric physicians and otolaryngologists suffered a massive revenue decline in the aftermath of the new coronavirus outbreak in Korea, industry data showed.

Digital healthcare solution provider UB Care on Tuesday released data on outpatient prescriptions between February and April.

According to UB Care, the volume and the number of total prescriptions in February increased 13 percent and 7 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

However, with the surge in confirmed cases in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province in late February, the volume of prescriptions inched up 1 percent, and the number declined 22 percent, respectively, in March.

In the following month, the volume and the number went further down 9 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

In April, the volume and the number of prescriptions from the pediatric department, in particular, plunged 52 percent and 76 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

Doctors specializing in ear, nose, and throat also witnessed a significant fall in prescriptions. In April, the volume and the number of prescriptions plummeted 52 percent and 63 percent, respectively.

The data also showed that different age groups showed different trends in hospital visits. Prescriptions for children aged 10 and under sharply dropped by 67 percent and 76 percent in March and April, respectively.

The feer prescriptions were attributed to the delayed re-opening of daycare centers, kindergartens, and schools across the country, which prevented children from getting infected with epidemics. Fears of contracting the Covid-19 virus also made young children shun from hospital visits, observers said.

Among people aged 60 or more, the number of prescriptions fell 5 percent, but the volume rose 4 percent. This meant that the patients received long-term medications to reduce the number of clinic visits.

A significant change in people’s lifestyles to wash hands and wear a mask in light of Covid-19, more stringent personal hygiene helped lower cold incidence, UB Care said.

In April, prescriptions to treat acute nasopharyngitis, commonly known as cold, recorded a 71 percent drop from a year earlier, which was the steepest fall among those for various diseases.

In contrast, the April prescriptions for hypertension, diabetes, and atopic dermatitis continued to rise 13 percent, 14 percent, and 3 percent, respectively, from the same month of 2019.


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