Primary care physicians and the cost of drugs: A study of prescribing practices based on recognition and information sources

D. Walzak, Susan Swindells, A. Bhardwaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Rapidly inflating health care costs limit patient care, and prescription drug costs constitute a major component of this expenditure. This study examines attitudes toward and knowledge of prescription drug costs of primary care physicians. Access to information about drug costs and implications for medical education are also explored. A questionnaire survey was sent to 137 internists, family, and general practitioners, randomly selected from a list provided by the Ohio State Medical Board. The questionnaire elicited information on demographic characteristics of respondents, influence of drug costs on prescribing habits, actual knowledge of prices of the 20 most commonly used drugs, attitudes toward generic drug use, sources of information on costs, and desire for emphasis on drug costs in medical education. Responding physicians indicated consideration of drug costs in therapeutic decisions, but lacked information and often made inaccurate assumptions about costs of drugs prescribed. Most felt they could provide better service and reduce costs if information about drug prices was readily available. Most agreed medical education should address drug costs. Drug cost estimates varied widely; correct responses ranged from 9% to 53%. No statistically significant pattern emerged regarding demographics of respondents or information sources used. Primary care physicians consider drug costs important and realize that cost-effective prescribing may lower health care costs. However, because physician knowledge of drug costs is inadequate and costs are not readily accessible, implications for better physician education and improved access are substantial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1159-1163
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Pharmacology
Volume34
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1994

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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