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Med J Aust. 1990 Nov 5;153(9):516-8.

Cost comparison of intravenous antibiotic administration.

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Department of Pharmacy, Fremantle Hospital, WA.


The cost of preparing and administering intravenous antibiotics in an Australian teaching hospital was determined. The costs associated with acquisition, delivery (administration system, ancillary equipment, labour), and laboratory monitoring for potential toxicity were calculated. Standard regimens based on antibiotic guidelines were used to compile the daily total cost. The results indicate that these components affect the daily total cost of individual antibiotics in different ways. Acquisition cost is often a poor predictor of total cost, which ranges from 1.2 times to almost eight times the acquisition cost. Less frequent administration reduces total costs substantially, as does slow injection compared with infusion. Laboratory costs constitute between 3.6% and 23% of the daily total cost and are most pronounced with antibiotics that have low acquisition costs. Antibiotic cost containment should not focus on acquisition cost alone. Daily total cost to administer antibiotics is a more appropriate and accurate costing method. Hospitals must acknowledge the need for innovative resource allocation methods which recognise this fact.

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