Pharmacotherapy Cost Comparison Among Health Professional Students

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Objectives. The impact of pharmaceutical sales representatives (PSRs) and the health professional curriculum on the cost of pharmacotherapy during the early stage of professional training was investigated. Methods. We used a cross-sectional survey design to assess the cost of pharmacotherapy choices and interaction with PSRs among senior medical, PharmD, and nurse practitioner students. Three clinical scenarios offered 4 options for medications that were equally efficacious but had widely varying costs; a relative value index was used to calculate pharmacotherapy costs. Results. Fifty-nine medical, 53 PharmD, and 17 nurse practitioner students volunteered to participate. Medical and nurse practitioner students reported more interaction with PSRs (P = 0.002). There were significant differences among groups for the total composite cost of drugs prescribed (P < 0.001) and for all 3 scenarios (tendinitis P < 0.001; hypertension P < 0.001; UTI P = 0.029). Conclusions. For all scenarios, pharmacy students chose less expensive agents than the other groups. Whether differences in pharmacotherapy costs were due to curriculum content to which each group of students was exposed or to their interactions with PSRs have yet to be determined.



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