Self-medication and health insurance coverage in Mexico

José A. Pagán, Sara Ross, Jeffrey Yau, Daniel Polsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-medication is a common practice in many developing countries but little is known about its determinants. This study analyzes the factors that are associated with the use of self-medication in Mexico using the Mexican Health and Aging Study, a new nationally representative survey on adults aged 50 and over. We find that self-medication is related to socioeconomic status and the lack of access to professional healthcare. Our empirical results suggest that lack of government-sponsored health insurance coverage increases the propensity to self-medicate. A 10% increase in the proportion of adults with health insurance coverage could decrease the use of pharmacy consultations by .8% for public sector workers and by 1.7% for private sector workers. Increasing health insurance coverage could reduce the demand for self-medication by making healthcare more affordable and by changing the population perceptions about the benefits of modern medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-177
Number of pages8
JournalHealth policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Health insurance
  • Mexico
  • Self-medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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