Background. Although the cost of prescription drugs is recognized as an important facet of health care expenditures, many physicians are purportedly unaware of actual drug costs. To test this hypothesis, we surveyed physician awareness of the cost of 20 actively marketed prescription drugs. Methods. A questionnaire listing four possible cost categories for each drug was administered to 305 registrants of a 5-day family medicine continuing education course. Results. Ninety-two physicians completed the questionnaire. Only one, a 40-year-old, boarded physician who had been in practice for 3 years, answered 70% of questions correctly. The average score for the other participants was 37% (range 0% to 75%). Conclusions: The majority of physicians questioned could not accurately identify the price range of commonly prescribed drugs. We recommend drug cost disclosure in drug advertising to help address this problem.
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