Medicine price awareness in chronic patients in Belgium
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Health policy. - Amsterdam
, p. 217-223
University of Antwerp
Introduction Under increasing pressure to contain health expenditures governments across Europe have implemented policies to increase responsible medicine use, e.g. by increasing co-insurance paid for by patients. In times of austerity, how do chronic disease patients perceive the medicine price they have to pay? Method We used a mixed methods research design. First, we distributed a close-ended questionnaire among 983 chronic disease patients in 30 Flemish pharmacies. Second, we performed semi-structured interviews with 15 of these patients. We surveyed for knowledge on the prescription medicine they bought, as well as for their needs for information and their therapeutic compliance. Results Although patients express a lack (and a need) of information on prices during the consultation with the general practitioner (GP), (s)he hardly addresses medicine prices. Patients often only know the medicine price when they are at the pharmacy and patients need to decide to buy the medicine or not. This often results in patients taking the medicine when considered affordable within their social and financial context. Conclusion It seems essential that patients are better informed about medicine prices as well as the constraints on physicians to prescribe cost-effectively. Therefore, medicine prices should be discussed more often during physician consults.