The price dilemma

Stacks of gold coins

Let your patients with asthma know about lower-price options if you want to improve compliance

Pharmacists have an important role to play in improving medication adherence among patients with asthma, say Australian researchers.

A new study has revealed the price sensitivity of patients with asthma and the impact of costs on patient decision making and adherence to use of asthma preventer medicines.

Researchers from the University of Sydney, Asthma Australian and other bodies conducted in-depth interviews with 24 adults and 20 carers of children with asthma.

“There were multifactorial influences on participants’ decisions about preventer choice, including
perceived effectiveness of prescribed asthma medicines, and ease of communication with HCPs,” the authors said.
However, participants’ responses regarding perceived responsibility for medicine changes showed they had little actual experience of shared decision-making”.
“Participants revealed a number of barriers and enablers to preventer adherence, once a medicine had been dispensed, and they provided useful feedback regarding asthma medicine costs, as well as the likely effect on their purchasing behaviours with hypothetical changes to prescription co-

They said pharmacists had a key role in providing information about lower-cost medicine options, especially given the lack of knowledge and information on medicine prices on the part of GPs.
“Pharmacists also have an important communication role in promoting adherence, both in medicine counselling, and in suggesting lower-cost brands where possible,” the authors said.
“Both pharmacists and GPs should be aware of the option of lower out-of-pocket costs with guideline-recommended ICS-alone treatment.”
“As free medicine and other financial incentives were met with scepticism by participants in our study, we believe that measures such as lower patient co-payments for ICS-alone would need to be accompanied by substantial education for patients and GPs about the relative efficacy of treatment
options as well as the rationale behind co-payments in general”.

The research was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

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