Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 195–201 | Cite as

Resident physician and hospital pharmacist familiarity with patient discharge medication costs

  • Kerry WilburEmail author
Research Article


Objective Cost-related medication non-adherence is associated with increased health-care resource utilization and poor patient outcomes. Physicians-in-training generally receive little education regarding costs of prescribed therapy and may rely on hospital pharmacists for this information. However, little is documented regarding either of these health care providers’ familiarity with out-of pocket medication expenses borne by patients in the community. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare resident physician and hospital pharmacist familiarity with what patients pay for medications prescribed once discharged. Setting A major tertiary patient care and medical teaching centre in Canada. Method Internal medicine residents and hospital pharmacists within a specific health care organization were invited to participate in an online survey. Eight patient case scenarios and associated discharge therapeutic regimens were outlined and respondents asked to identify the costs patients would incur when having the prescription filled once discharged. Main Outcome Measure Total number and proportion of estimates above and below actual cost were calculated and compared between the groups using χ2 tests. Responses ±10% of the true cost were considered correct. Mean absolute values and standard deviation estimated costs, as well as cost increments above and below 10%, were calculated to assess the magnitude of the discrepancy between the respondent estimates and the actual total cost. Results Forty-four percent of physician residents and 26% of hospital pharmacists accessed the survey. Overall 39% and 47% of medication costs were under-estimated, 32% and 33% were overestimated, and 29% and 21% were correctly estimated by residents and pharmacists, respectively (P = NS). Incorrect estimates were evident across all therapeutic classes and medical indications presented in the survey. The greatest absolute cost discrepancy for both groups was under-estimation of linezolid ($800 and $400) and over-estimation of clopidogrel ($80) and bisoprolol therapy ($22) by residents and pharmacists, respectively. Conclusion Resident physicians and hospital pharmacists are unfamiliar with what patients must pay for drug therapy once discharged.


Canada Costs Discharge medication Pharmacist Resident physician 



All pharmacists and resident physicians who participated in the survey.


No special funding was obtained for this study.

Conflict of interest

The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of PharmacyQatar UniversityDohaQatar

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