Pharmaceutical services cost analysis using time-driven activity-based costing: A contribution to improve community pharmacies' management

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Abstract

Background:

The current financial crisis is pressing health systems to reduce costs while looking to improve service standards. In this context, the necessity to optimize health care systems management has become an imperative. However, little research has been conducted on health care and pharmaceutical services cost management.

Aim:

Pharmaceutical services optimization requires a comprehensive understanding of resources usage and its costs. This study explores the development of a time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC) model, with the objective of calculating the cost of pharmaceutical services to help inform policy-making.

Methods:

Pharmaceutical services supply patterns were studied in three pharmacies during a weekday through an observational study. Details of each activity's execution were recorded, including time spent per activity performed by pharmacists. Data on pharmacy costs was obtained through pharmacies' accounting records.

Results:

The calculated cost of a dispensing service in these pharmacies ranged from €3.16 to €4.29. The cost of a counseling service when no medicine was supplied ranged from €1.24 to €1.46. The cost of health screening services ranged from €2.86 to €4.55.

Conclusion:

The presented TDABC model gives us new insights on management and costs of community pharmacies. This study shows the importance of cost analysis for health care services, specifically on pharmaceutical services, in order to better inform pharmacies' management and the elaboration of pharmaceutical policies.

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