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Canadian doctors don't know costs of prescribed treatments

en when those drugs often offer no clinical advantage. In light of the fact that pharmaceuticals are the fastest growing cost in health care, this area requires further attention, Allan said.

Allan added that past research shows doctors want more cost information, and that if they had this information it would modify their prescribing and reduce costs. Although techniques like academic detailing and cost reminders in computer based health records or drug information resources can be effective in reducing costs without imposed limitations, governments frequently opt for restrictive formularies (meaning drugs prices are not included in the listings) and limiting funding for cost education for doctors.

Another barrier to educating doctors of the costs of health care, Allan noted, is that the pharmaceutical industry would be reluctant to support the addition of cost information within drug information resources, like the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS).

"I think the accurate knowledge of health care cost is, for all intents and purposes, not possible. Education programs will have limited success for a host of reasons," Allan said. "Instead, cost information should be more readily available to allow physicians to consider cost at the time of ordering."

"Reducing the costs of health care is obviously a vitally important issue, and one that deserves further study," Allan added.


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Contact: Ryan Smith
ryan.smith@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
23-Apr-2004


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