A recent poll conducted by the Consumer’s Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, found that only 4 percent of patients said their doctors talk with them about the cost of prescriptions. And 60 percent find out what the price is for the first time when they pick up their drugs at the pharmacy.
Should doctors discuss the price of medication before prescribing it?
As physicians, we’re trained to make treatment decisions without the influence of money or insurance companies. We should be guided by what is in the best interest of the patient’s health, not by the patient’s ability to pay.
But particularly during a recession like the one we’re in now, when people are losing their jobs and health insurance – patients come up with their own ways of saving money on health care. They’re reluctant to pay for preventive care, and they do things like cut pills in half to make them last longer, skip doses, or stop their drug regimen altogether.
Combine this with the rising cost of patients’ health care deductibles, and it’s more important than ever that we start discussing costs with patients. Doctors need to be more pro-active about educating ourselves about costs. Those conversations may help ensure that our patients can and will take care of their health.
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