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Hospital Pharmacist Familiarity with Patient Discharge Medication Costs

Kerry Wilbur

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Background: Drug therapy poses a financial burden for many individuals. Cost-related medication nonadherence is ultimately associated with increased healthcare resource utilization and poor patient outcomes. Physicians are often unaware of the costs associated with their prescribed therapy, but little is documented regarding familiarity of hospital pharmacists with out-of-pocket medication expenses borne by patients in the community setting.

Objective: To evaluate how familiar hospital pharmacists are with prescribed medication costs for discharged patients.

Methods: Hospital pharmacists within a specific healthcare organization were invited to participate in an online survey. Ten brief patient case scenarios and associated discharge therapeutic regimens were outlined and respondents were asked to identify the costs that discharged patients would incur when having the prescriptions filled. The total number and proportion of estimates either above or below the actual medication cost as determined from community pharmacies were calculated.

Results: Thirty-one pharmacists completed the survey. For the therapeutic regimens described, 47% of medication costs were underestimated, 33% were overestimated, and 20% were correctly estimated (within 10% of the actual value). Incorrect estimates were evident across all therapeutic classes and medical indications presented in the survey. The greatest mean absolute cost differences were underestimation of a linezolid treatment course for skin and soft tissue infection ($384.18 below the mean absolute cost) and overestimation of monthly bisoprolol heart failure therapy ($22.42).

CONCLUSIONS: Hospital pharmacists are often unfamiliar with what discharged patients must pay for drug therapy.

J Pharm Technol 2008;24:261-8.

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Harvey Whitney Books

Harvey Whitney Books


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