The cost of medical care is constantly increasing. Therefore, ways of saving expenses should be considered. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the possibility than an awareness of the cost of drugs for treatment of hypertension may affect physicians' prescription decisions. A questionnaire containing the clinical data of a young and an elderly imaginary patient with moderate hypertension was given to 30 family physicians and 30 hospital physicians together with a list of appropriate drugs (phase I). This was repeated as phase II except that for this stage the cost of the drugs was brought to the participants' attention. Knowing the cost of the drugs caused a decrease in prescription of the more expensive drugs for the younger patients, of 60% (family physicians) and 87% (hospital physicians). For their elderly patients family physicians preferred the less expensive drugs at both phases. 25% of the hospital doctors changed their preference towards less expensive drugs at phase II. For the younger patient, no correlation was found between the number of years of physicians' practice and the cost of the drugs chosen. For the elderly patient, physicians from both groups preferred less expensive drugs at phase II without any relation to their years of practice. The results of this study indicate that a knowledge of the price of the drugs may affect physicians' prescription decisions, a fact that may result in considerable saving by health providing organizations.
- Drug cost
- Prescription patterns