Psychiatric disorders exert a substantial burden on health and health care systems globally and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.1 The aim of current pharmacotherapy in psychiatric patients is to prevent and control symptoms, reduce the frequency and severity of exacerbations, improve mental health status, and quality of life. Medical care for mental disorders however can be costly and health care providers are interested in whether treatments represent value for money. Indeed, the soaring drug expenditure for psychiatric disorders has profound effects on the sustainability of both the public and private insurance systems,2 and there is urgent need to understand barriers to cost-effective medication use in psychiatric settings. Beyond doubt it is currently paramount to evaluate not only the efficacy and tolerability of psychoactive drugs, but also the economic aspects of the psychopharmacological treatment in terms of cost-utility and cost-effectiveness.3
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1. Salvador-Carulla L, Hernández-Peña P. Economic context analysis in mental health care. Usability of health financing and cost of illness studies for international comparisons. Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci 2011;20:19-27.
2. Frank RG, Conti RM, Goldman HH. Mental health policy and psychotropic drugs. Milbank Q 2005;83:271-298.