Impact of a Clinical Pharmacist Intervention on Medicine Costs in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in India

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PharmacoEconomics - Open


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as India. Medicine costs are a key issue in LMICs, with typically high patient co-payments. In addition, pharmacists are underutilised in LMICs, including India. However, pharmacist-led educational interventions may improve the care of patients with COPD, as well as reduce medicine costs. Consequently, the objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a pharmacist-led intervention in reducing medicine costs. Methodology: We assessed the impact of a pharmacist intervention on direct medicine costs in COPD patients (medicine costs and pharmacist time) in a randomised controlled study involving an intervention and control group, conducted at a tertiary care teaching hospital in India. Results: The 6-monthly cost of medicines at baseline increased with disease severity, from a maximum of US$29.46 for those with mild COPD to US$63.28 for those with very severe COPD. Substantial savings in medical costs were achieved with the pharmacist-led programme, to a maximum of US$20.49 over 6 months for very severe patients. This equates to a reduction of 30.6% in medicine costs (p < 0.001), reduced to 26.1% when pharmacists’ time (US$3.00/patient) was included. Conclusion: There could be a key role for pharmacists as educators for COPD patients in LMICs, to improve care and reduce costs, including patient co-payments.

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