STUDY OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between unemployment and prescribing costs over time. DESIGN: This was a longitudinal study. SETTING: All 90 family health service authorities in England, 1983-92. PARTICIPANTS: All general practices in England. MAIN RESULTS: The strength of the relationship varied over the period, falling to a very low value during the last two years of the decade. CONCLUSION: Unemployment rates are not suitable as a proxy for the determination of prescribing costs.
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