, Volume 178, Issue 3, pp 277-280

Doctors’ attitudes about prescribing and knowledge of the costs of common medications

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Abstract

Introduction

Compliance with medical therapy may be compromised because of the affordability of medications. Inadequate physician knowledge of drug costs may unwittingly contribute to this problem.

Methods

We measured attitudes about prescribing and knowledge of medication costs by written survey of medical and surgical non consultant hospital doctors and consultants in two University teaching hospitals (n = 102). Sixty-eight percent felt the cost of medicines was an important consideration in the prescribing decision, however, 88% often felt unaware of the actual costs. Only 33% had easy access to drug cost data, and only 3% had been formally educated about drug costs. Doctors' estimates of the cost of a supply of ten commonly used medications were accurate in only 12% of cases, too low for 50%, and too high for 38%.

Conclusions

Interventions are needed to educate doctors about drug costs and provide them with reliable, easily accessible cost information in real-world practice.