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Evaluation of a Model Comparative Drug Price Resource

Fostering Prescriber-Patient Engagement, Lowering Consumer Costs, and Improving Adherence

Marcia Hams and Wells Wilkinson, Community Catalyst

If primary care physicians know the price of the medications they prescribe, they are more likely to discuss affordability and adherence and to encourage shared decisionmaking with patients.

Few physicians know the price of the prescription medications that they prescribe, in part because out-of-pocket costs for insured patients can vary widely. A study conducted by Community Catalyst explored primary care physicians' interest in a web-based resource that shows the current prices of comparable brand name and generic drugs at pharmacies in a chosen zip code.

Physicians highly concerned about patients' abilities to pay for medications were presented with hypothetical resources showing the retail and out-of-pocket costs for drugs at local pharmacies. Following exposure to each resource, the physicians indicated that it would likely facilitate discussions of affordability, reduce nonadherence, and improve patient engagement. Physicians also reported which comparative features were the most useful, how often they would use such a resource, and how such a resource might save time addressing cost.

The study shows how reliable, accessible information on drug prices could lower patient costs, improve provider efficiency, and encourage medication adherence.

The full study is available on the University of Minnesota site.

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