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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 20409

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Walzak D, Swindells S, Bhardwaj A.
Primary care physicians and the cost of drugs: a study of prescribing practices based on recognition and information sources.
J Clin Pharmacol 1994; 34:(12):1159-63


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 abscess are substantial.

Drug Costs* Drug Prescriptions/economics Drug Utilization Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice Humans Ohio Physician's Practice Patterns/statistics & numerical data* Physicians, Family/psychology* Primary Health Care/economics Questionnaires


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Email a Friend influence multinational corporations effectively, the efforts of governments will have to be complemented by others, notably the many voluntary organisations that have shown they can effectively represent society’s public-health interests…
A small group known as Healthy Skepticism; formerly the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) has consistently and insistently drawn the attention of producers to promotional malpractice, calling for (and often securing) correction. These organisations [Healthy Skepticism, Médecins Sans Frontières and Health Action International] are small, but they are capable; they bear malice towards no one, and they are inscrutably honest. If industry is indeed persuaded to face up to its social responsibilities in the coming years it may well be because of these associations and others like them.
- Dukes MN. Accountability of the pharmaceutical industry. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23; 360(9346)1682-4.