Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Clinicians want better cost information

A research article published in PLoS:Medicine has found that many clinicians are not aware of the cost of the drugs they prescribe but that they would welcome improved access to cost information.

The paper included 24 articles in the analysis and overall cost accuracy was low with less than a third of responses within a 25% margin of the actual cost of the drug. Fewer than half of the estimates could be defined as accurate using any definition of cost accuracy. High-cost drugs were estimated more accurately but there was a consistent (p < 0.001) overestimation of the cost of inexpensive products and underestimation of the cost of expensive ones.

The authors recommend that, "much more focus is required in the education of physicians about costs and the access to cost information". They also suggest that future work could involve assessment of accessibility and reliability of medical cost information and whether this information improves clinician prescribing.

Action: Access to cost information in sources such as the British National Formulary or Drug Tariff will allow clinicians to prescribe with due consideration of the true cost of treatment.

Thanks to Jane Dickson for spotting this article

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