Objective: One of the core principles of rational prescribing is consideration of the cost of the medicines prescribed, especially in countries with high patient copayments and low incomes such as Nigeria. Little is known about Nigerian physicians’ knowledge about the cost of commonly prescribed medicines. The principal objective of the study was to assess the knowledge of Nigerian physicians about the cost of commonly prescribed medicines. Methods: Descriptive cross-sectional survey conducted among physicians in 3 tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Apart from socio-demographic and other information, questions about the estimated costs of branded and generic versions of 11 commonly prescribed medications were included in the questionnaire. Results: One hundred and seventy-nine (179; 95.7%) respondents agreed that costs of medicines were important when writing prescriptions, although only 7 (3.7%) of them had any formal training in the economics of healthcare. The median percentages of respondents with accurate estimated costs for generic and originator brands were 6.2% and 12%, respectively. Respondents were more knowledgeable about the cost of medicines used for the treatment of infectious diseases (malaria, bacterial infections) than noncommunicable diseases (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and dyslipidemia). Conclusions: The knowledge of Nigerian physicians in the 3 participating hospitals about the costs of commonly prescribed medicines was poor. This is despite their awareness about the importance of costs of medicines when prescribing.
- medicine costs
- cost consciousness