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Drugs cost more at doctors' office than pharmacy, study finds

Patients who get painkiller Vicodin from their doctor's office will pay three times more than those who get it from pharmacist, a new study has found.

The Workers Compensation Research Institute said the average price of the drug dispensed by a physician was $1.46 per pill compared to 37 cents per pill at a pharmacy.

The report said that the costs of many drugs is higher at a doctor's office, an issue that has been debated but hasn't been addressed.

The study looked at data from payors in Maryland representing 37 percent of claims filed in the state's workers' compensation system. The 26,860 claims analyzed were for injuires  from Oct. 1, 2007, to Sept. 30, 2011, and for prescriptions filled through March 31, 2012.

“In many states across the country, policymakers are debating whether doctors should be paid significantly more than pharmacies for dispensing the same drug,”  Dr. Richard Victor, WCRI’s executive director, said in a statement. “One question for policymakers is whether the large price difference paid when physicians dispense is justified by the benefits of physician dispensing.”

Some drugs with over-the-counter strength were commonly dispensed by Maryland physicians at a higher price compared with the price at a pharmacy for the same drug, the study found. For instance, Zantac, which costs about 35 cents per pill at Walgreens, costs $3.40 per pill at a doctor's office.








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