Do free or low-cost antibiotic promotions alter prescription filling habits?

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Jeremy Joslin
Susan Marie Wojcik
Andrew Fisher
William D Grant


Anti-Bacterial Agents, Drug Utilization, Pharmacies, Professional Practice, Physician's Practice Patterns, United States


Objective: Because free sample of prescription medications have been shown to influence prescribing habits of physicians, we sought to discern if promotional efforts of a retail pharmacy influenced prescriptions filled in our county after a free antibiotic program was initiated.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of prescription antibiotics filled throughout the county was performed. Prescriptions filled during the first 6 months of the year before the program was initiated were compared to prescriptions filled during the first 6 months of the year immediately following initiation of the promotion.

Results: A total of 436,372 antibiotic prescriptions were dispensed during that time. The number of antibiotics filled that were included in the promotion increased by 13.4% while the number of antibiotics filled that were excluded from the promotion decreased by 20.4%.

Conclusion: These data suggest that the promotional pricing of the antibiotics had a significant impact on the number of prescriptions filled in each category. Because a prescription written does not always equate to a prescription filled, further investigation is needed to confirm the relationship between these promotions and actual prescriber habits.

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