Decision making regarding prescription drugs: Out-of-pocket pressures

Jon C Schommer, Yen Wen Chen, Andrea L. Kjos, Jagannath Muzumdar, Siting Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study used a cross-sectional descriptive survey design to assess the opinions of consumers, physicians, pharmacists, and social workers in Minnesota regarding (1) the relative importance of out-of-pocket costs compared with total cost of prescription medications for patients and (2) the extent to which purchasing prescription drugs causes patients to experience financial hardship. The findings showed that physicians, pharmacists, and social workers underestimated the level of importance of "total cost" of prescriptions to their patients/clients. Both out-of-pocket and total costs were particularly important to patients 65 years and older, which probably reflects their experiences with Medicare Part D coverage. The findings also revealed that 27% of consumers reported that purchasing prescription drugs caused them financial hardship. Physicians and pharmacists reported similar estimates of financial hardship for their patients. Social workers reported a somewhat higher estimate for financial hardship for their clients (42%). We conclude that although most consumers focus on their out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and do not report financial hardship from purchasing prescription drugs, a significant proportion of consumers do focus on total cost and experience financial hardship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-289
Number of pages12
JournalDrug Benefit Trends
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009


  • Medicare Part D
  • Out-of-pocket cost
  • Prescription drugs

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