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August 12, 1968

Cost of Antimicrobial Drugs in a Hospital

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1968;205(7):537. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140330079027

To the Editor:—  A report published in 1966 listed what patients paid for antimicrobial drugs in a number of hospitals. In one 550-bed hospital, the cost to inpatients for one month was $15,273 or about $183,000 per year.1 For the year 1967-1968, the cost had more than doubled to about $400,000, which accounted for 60% of the total bill for all drugs. The Table lists the percentages of the usual "mark-up" prices for various antimicrobial drugs dispensed last year by the hospital pharmacy. Antimicrobial usage increased despite admonition of numerous authorities for restraint in a therapy because of a rising incidence of iatrogenic sequels and of resistant microbes.Penicillin, still prescribed most often, was far exceeded in cost by cephalothin sodium and ampicillin sodium (Table). More ampicillin than cephalothin was dispensed, but the cost of cephalothin, which has no particular advantage over other agents,2 was more than threefold