Cost analysis of a novel HIV testing strategy in community pharmacies and retail clinics

This study was conducted in six pharmacy sites in order to determine the cost of HIV testing in a retail or clinical setting.  The purpose of the study was to provide information to places who are planning on implementing HIV rapid testing so that they may plan and budget accordingly.  The results of the study found that the average cost of a test would be $47.21 per person.  Additionally, it found that the average counseling was two minutes pretest and two minutes posttest if negative or ten minutes posttest if positive. The average cost was comparable to data published in 2006 which stated that clinical testing would costing $28.05 per negative test and $86.84 per positive test. The study found that many factors could impact the actual cost of the tests including the quality of the tests, how many tests were ordered, and how many staff members would complete training for the tests. Additionally, the study was not allowed access to the sites’ overhead costs, including salaries and and utilities, and instead used median wage data so actual costs may be higher.

I was very surprised by the results of the study. I assumed such tests would be much more expensive and was why they were not already available to most pharmacies.  Pharmacies would be a great additional resource for individuals who want or need to be tested for HIV.  Pharmacies can provide the convenience of at-home testing while connecting people who are HIV-positive to the contacts and resources a clinical setting would also provide. With no increase in cost to other settings, pharmacies can become a medical source for patients with HIV to those who have limited access to other types of health care.

Lecher, Shirley Lee, Ram K. Shrestha, Linda W. Botts, Jorge Alvarez, James H. Moore, Vasavi Thomas, and Paul J. Weidle. “Cost Analysis of a Novel HIV Testing Strategy in Community Pharmacies and Retail Clinics.” Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 55.5 (2015): 488-92. Web.