Tuesday | 06 April, 2021

Drug prices as big a concern as COVID-19 for Georgians

[Note: This article was first published on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint production of CRRC-Georgia and OC Media. The article was written by Avto Dolidze, a Junior Fellow at CRRC-Georgia. The views expressed in this article represent the views of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the views of CRRC-Georgia, NDI, or any related entity.]

While Georgia’s healthcare system has faced significant challenges as a result of the pandemic, just under half of Georgians consider an issue related to COVID-19 to be among the main challenges facing the country’s healthcare system with medicine prices remaining a big worry, polling suggests. 

In the December 2020 NDI and CRRC Georgia survey, respondents were asked what the largest issue facing the healthcare system was. They were allowed to name up to three issues. The most commonly named issues were the cost of medicine (46%), access to hospitals due to COVID-19 issues (16%), and other COVID-19 related issues (25%).

When grouped by whether or not someone mentioned an issue directly related to COVID-19, the data suggest that half the public thinks issues unrelated to COVID-19 are the main issues facing the healthcare system. 

One in five respondents (19%) named only COVID-19 related issues. Almost a third (29%) named at least one COVID-19 related issue, and at least one non-COVID-19 issue. Overall, half of the population (52%) named only issues not directly related to COVID-19.

Note: The responses “Accessibility of hospitals due to COVID-19 issues”, “Accessibility of doctors for COVID-19 issues”, “Accessibility of COVID-19 tests”, and “Other COVID-19 related issues” are considered COVID-19 related issues. The responses “Cost of Medicine”, “Lack of qualification of doctors and medical personal”, “Cost of Medical care/doctor’s visits”, “Availability of hospitals and healthcare services”, “Bureaucracy of the healthcare system”, “Cost of medical supplies”, “Poor quality medicine”, “Poor hospital infrastructure and equipment”, and “Bad sanitary conditions in hospital and clinics” are not counted as COVID-19 related issues. 

There were few significant predictors of whether or not someone thinks COVID-19 is among the healthcare system’s main issues. Women and men, people in cities and villages, people in relatively wealthy and poor households, and those with higher and lower education levels were similarly more or less likely to name at least one COVID-19 related issue. However, attitudes did vary by age and ethnicity. 

Older people were more likely to be concerned about issues not related to COVID-19 than younger people, who, in turn, were more likely to be concerned about both COVID-19 and non-related issues. 

This may be unsurprising, as past analyses have shown that even though the cost of medicine is the biggest issue for all age groups, older people are particularly concerned about drug prices. Ethnic minorities were less likely to mention COVID-19 related issues than ethnic Georgians.

Note: The above chart used a multinomial regression model. The model controlled for age group (18–34, 35–54, 55+), sex (female, male), settlement type (Capital, urban, rural), education (secondary or lower, secondary technical, higher than secondary), ethnicity (Georgian, ethnic minority), and a simple additive index of durable goods owned by the respondent’s household, a common proxy for wealth. 

While COVID-19 is straining healthcare systems around the world, including in Georgia, half the public do not consider it among the largest issues facing the healthcare system in the country. Older people in particular are more concerned about the cost of medicine. 

The data used in this article is available here.

13.05.2014 | Tuesday

Common Challenges Facing the Elderly in Georgia

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Multiple social, psychological, and biological factors determine the level of mental health of a person at any point in time. In addition to the typical life stressors common to all people, older people are more likely to experience events such as bereavement, a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement, or a disability.” 
28.05.2014 | Wednesday

Smoking in the South Caucasus and tobacco policy in Azerbaijan

May 31st is World No Tobacco Day as declared by the United Nations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco usage is the primary reason for chronic diseases including “cancer, lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases” among other diseases.
27.10.2014 | Monday

Don’t worry, exercise, and be happy

It has become common knowledge that those who exercise regularly are healthier than those who do not, but are those who exercise also happier? According to research conducted by the University of Bristol, people who regularly exercise are happier, more productive at work, and less stressed than those who are not engaged in regular physical activities.
29.03.2012 | Thursday

Blood Donation in Georgia: Obstacles and Opportunities

According to a report by the World Health Organization, blood donations in Georgia fall below the estimated need for patients. Approximately 60,000 donations are necessary per year to cover Georgian patients’ needs, while the number of actual blood donation does not exceed 37,000. Moreover, 95% of blood donations come from paid donors.
13.07.2012 | Friday


The 2011 Caucasus Barometer asked the Georgian population, “Relative to most of the households around you, would you describe the current economic condition of your household as very good, good, fair, poor or very poor? 
11.12.2006 | Monday

Gabala Radar Station -- local health awareness

Rashida Abdullayeva examined a curious relic from Cold War days: in Gabala, Northern Azerbaijan, there is a giant radar station, which is leased out to Russia until 2012. According to reports citing the Russian Ministry of Defence the radar station has a range of up to 6000 km, was designed to detect missile launches from the Indian Ocean, and hosts around 1200 Russian servicemen.
21.01.2019 | Monday

Budget priorities are similar to people's spending priorities

Georgia’s state budget amounted to GEL 12.5 billion in 2018.  The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs; Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure; and Ministry of Education and Science had the largest appropriations at 28.2% (GEL 3.528 billion), 14.5% (GEL 1.815 billion), and 9.5% (GEL 1.186 billion) of the budget, respectively. In the 2018 June CRRC/NDI survey, respondents were asked, “What are your top three priorities for spending, understanding it means cutting elsewhere?” Respondents were provided with a show card and allowed to name up to three answers. This blog post looks at whether responses match up with actual spending, and how priorities vary among different demographic groups.
04.11.2019 | Monday

Drugs for desert? Biggest monthly household expenses in Georgia

The economy remains the main concern for people in Georgia. Together with the consumer price index and USD-GEL exchange rate rising, average household expenditures also have increased over the last couple of years. Meanwhile, according to recent data only 10% of the population has any savings. Although household expenditures have increased, what are people spending money on? The most recent CRRC-NDI survey from summer 2019 asked questions about household expenditures which provide a sense about what people spend money on in Georgia as well as who spends more on different categories of goods and services.
16.12.2019 | Monday

Perceptions of healthcare quality in Georgia

Affordable healthcare remains one of the main national issues for people in Georgia: 18% of people considered it one of the most important issues in the July 2019 CRRC and NDI survey. The salience of this issue was at its highest in 2012 (35%), and has decreased over the years, particularly in light of the passage of the universal health insurance program. Nonetheless, affordable healthcare remains one of the most important issues for the public and particularly the cost of medicine, which is one of the three largest costs for over a third of families in Georgia. In this regard, it is unsurprising that over half of the population name the cost of medicine or the cost of care/doctor visits as the largest ones facing the healthcare system in Georgia. The second most common issue, which 24% of respondents named on the question about issues in the healthcare system, was a concern over the lack of professionalism of doctors and medical personnel, something associated with the quality of care.
27.07.2020 | Monday

Analysis | Georgia has a vaccine misinformation problem

Many experts believe that to fully remove the restrictions which have emerged because of the COVID-19 crisis, a vaccine is needed. While vaccines are only expected in the medium term, if and when they are available, Georgia may face large challenges with implementing a large scale vaccination program. 

08.09.2020 | Tuesday

Lockdown vs re-opening the economy in Georgia

As the number of new daily confirmed cases is again on the rise, we look at how people felt about the anti-coronavirus restrictions in May.

Aside from the public health situation, COVID-19 has led to rising unemploymentreduced incomes, and food insecurity in Georgia. As the number of new daily confirmed cases is again on the rise, the Caucasus Datablog takes a look at how people felt about the anti-coronavirus restrictions when they were at their height.

30.03.2021 | Tuesday

Georgia among worst in the world for vaccine hesitancy

Scientists agree that global mass immunisation against COVID-19 is the only pathway to putting the virus under control. Yet, the World Health Organisation has argued that actually getting people to take vaccines is ‘an unprecedented challenge’, which might undermine mass immunisation efforts. 
New data suggests that the Georgian public is among the least interested in getting a vaccine globally, given available data.