Older people’s perceptions of prescription medicine costs and related costs: A pilot study in New Zealand

June Tordoff, Michael Bagge, Farina Ali, Samira Ahmed, Jie Ning Choong, Rowena Fu, Annie Joe, Prasad Nishtala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


INTRODUCTION: Older people tend to take more medicines and prescription medicine costs may influence medicine adherence.

AIM: The aim of this pilot study was to identify older people’s perceptions of prescription medicine costs and related costs in four major cities across New Zealand.

METHODS: A questionnaire was administered to people aged 65 years and older visiting pharmacies in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin to identify their perceptions of costs relating to prescription medicines and related pharmacy and general practice services. Data were compared between cities and examined for associations between participants’ views on costs and age, sex, income, ethnicity, number of medicines, and monthly cost.

RESULTS: Participants (N=107) received a median of five prescription medicines (range 1-15), at a median cost of NZ$8.00 (range 0-55.30). Median part-charges for medicines only partly funded by the government were NZ$6.25 (range 0.60-100.00), and GP consultations ranged from NZ$0-60.00. Of the participants, 89 (83.2%) thought medicine costs and 63 (58.9%) thought GP consultation costs were reasonable. Participants with median monthly medicine costs of NZ$8.33-87.00 more commonly perceived medicines as expensive or very expensive (p=0.001, Fisher’s exact test).

DISCUSSION: Older people in this study mostly viewed their prescription medicines and related costs as reasonable; however, 17% and 41%, respectively, found medicines costs and GP consultation costs expensive. Larger, in-depth studies across New Zealand are needed to determine the sections of the population that find these costs expensive, and to explore how this might affect medicine adherence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-303
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Primary Health Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Aged
  • Community health services
  • Costs and cost analysis
  • New Zealand
  • Pharmaceutical preparations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine(all)


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