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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
More inWhite Papers  

a lady pharmacist with prescription imageNovember 1 2017

The Welsh public shows little support for the proposal to display a dispensed medicine’s cost on its label, a qualitative study has found. 

The general reaction to the proposal was negative, said the researchers from the Cardiff University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Participants felt that displaying the cost alone “would be insufficient to convey the correct meaning, may serve more to reprimand patients for needing medicines rather than encourage them to be used appropriately, and would not be as effective in improving patient adherence as education and engagement.”

Six focus groups involving 34 participants, including people aged over 65 and university students, were involved in the study. The in-depth discussions were, conducted in late 2015 and followed a proposal by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that patients should be made aware of how much their medicines cost.

The study identified three key themes:

  • ‘influence of cost’ – participants expressed concern about cost linking to their perceived value, guilt for needing prescribed medication and irrelevance of cost if the medication was considered necessary;
  • ‘knowledge is power’ – participants expressed a desire to know more about their medicines and engage with health care professionals about them, and felt information on dispensing labels alone would be insufficient to support this; and
  • ‘blame the system’ – participants felt responsibility for wastage should be shared by both system and patient, and identified existing wasteful practices such as inappropriate prescribing, ordering and disposal of returned medicines.

The findings were “consistent with the sentiment of both the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s and Patient’s Association public responses to this proposal, in which patient empowerment and understanding were considered equally relevant as cost in whether a patient takes their medication as prescribed,” said the researchers.

Link:
R Yemm et al. ‘Displaying medication costs on dispensing labels as a strategy to reduce wastage: views of the Welsh general public’. Integrated Pharmacy Research and Practice. October 24 2017. 6; 173-180.      

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