Medication costs in an emergency department

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To determine the average medication costs associated per emergency department (ED) presentation. To determine the top 10 medications by cost to the ED.


Retrospective analysis of all pharmacy-related medication costs and ED patient presentations from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013. Medication expenditure data were collected from the pharmacy software Merlin Hospital Drug Management System. Patient presentation data were collected from the hospital ED information system (MedTrak).


The average medication cost per patient per episode of care was AU$7.49. The top 10 medications by cost to the ED were alteplase, diphtheria and tetanus vaccine, Hartmann's intravenous fluid, sodium chloride 0.9% 10 mL ampoules, enbucrilate, digoxin immune Fab, acetylcysteine injection, icatibant injection, ondansetron wafers and metaraminol injection.


The total cost of medication per patient presentation in the ED is small and represents limited opportunities for cost savings through changes to prescribing practices.

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