Whom do older adults trust most to provide information about prescription drugs?

Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2009 Apr;7(2):105-16. doi: 10.1016/j.amjopharm.2009.04.005.


Background: Cost-related nonadherence to medieations is common among older adults, yet physician-patient communication about medication cost concerns is infrequent. One factor affecting communication and adherence may be older adults' confidence in the information about prescription drugs provided by physicians and other sources.

Objectives: This study was conducted to identify which source older adults most trust to provide information on drugs and to examine the relationship between older patients' trust in physicians to provide price information and the occurrence of cost-related nonadherence.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional national telephone survey of individuals aged > or =50 years who were taking at least 1 prescription medication. Respondents were asked how much they would trust various sources (physician, pharmacist, nurse, insurance plan, the Internet, consumer groups, friends and family) to provide helpful information on "the price of the prescription medicine compared to others like it" and on "how well the prescription medicine will work for you compared to other medicines like it." The response options were a lot, somewhat, and not at all. Other measures of interest were respondents' beliefs concerning physicians' ability to lower drug costs and patient activation. We also evaluated the potential association between trust in physicians to deliver drug price information and cost-related medication nonadherence.

Results: Compared with the other sources of information studied, doctors and pharmacists were the sources that respondents were most likely to trust "a lot" to provide information on drug prices (55.6% and 61.7%, respectively) and to provide information on drug effectiveness (79.9% and 66.4%). Less than half (42.3%) of respondents who said that they trusted their doctor to provide drug price information "somewhat" or "not at all" agreed that there are ways doctors could lower drug costs (P = 0.01 vs those who trusted their doctor "a lot"). Adults aged > or =65 years were more likely than those aged 50 to 64 years to trust their doctors "a lot" to provide information on drug prices (odds ratio [OR] = 1.44; 95% CI, 1.08-1.92); the same was true of members of minority groups compared with white respondents (OR = 1.72; 95%) CT, 1.1 3-2.61 ). Among individuals with high drug spending, those who placed "a lot" of trust in their doctors to provide price information were less likely than those who trusted their doctor "somewhat" or "not at all" to have cost-related nonadhcrence (OR = 0.40; 95% CI, 0.20-0.78).

Conclusions: In this survey, older adults trusted physicians and pharmacists more than the other sources studied to provide information on prescription drugs. Trust in physicians to provide price information was an important moderator of the effect of high drug spending on cost-related nonadhcrence. Efforts to provide patients and their providers with comparative data on drug prices and effectiveness may reduce cost-related nonadhcrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Costs*
  • Drug Information Services
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Pharmacists
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Prescription Drugs / economics*
  • Prescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Trust*
  • United States


  • Prescription Drugs