Chronic conditions, financial burden and pharmaceutical pricing: insights from Australian consumers

Jennifer A. Whitty, Adem Sav, Fiona Kelly, Michelle A. King, Sara S. Mcmillan, Elizabeth Kendall, Amanda J. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To explore the perceptions of Australian consumers and carers about the financial burden associated with medicines used for the treatment of chronic conditions.

Method Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with individuals (n = 97) who identified as having a chronic condition(s) (n = 70), cared for someone with a chronic condition(s) (n = 8), or both (n = 19). Participants included individuals identifying with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (n = 23) or Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (n = 19) background. Data were analysed using the constant comparison method and reported thematically.

Results Participants described substantial costs associated with medicines use, along with aggravating factors, including the duration and number of medicines used, loss of employment, lack of pricing consistency between pharmacies and the cost of dose administration aids. Consequences included impacts on medicine adherence, displacement of luxury items and potentially a reduced financial incentive to work. Understanding and beliefs related to pharmaceutical pricing policy varied and a range of proactive strategies to manage financial burden were described by some participants.

Conclusions The financial burden associated with medicines used for the management of chronic conditions by Australian consumers is substantial. It is compounded by the ongoing need for multiple medicines and indirect effects associated with chronic conditions, such as the impact on employment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-595
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2014


  • financial burden
  • pharmaceuticals
  • chronic conditions
  • Australia
  • consumer experience

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