The objective for this study was to determine the dispensing cost in community pharmacies. This was a pilot cross-sectional study of 10 community pharmacies on Penang Island. A 17-item self-administered questionnaire was developed and consisted of questions on the type of pharmacy license, pharmacist salary, non-pharmacist salaries, pharmacy area size, dispensing area size, overhead and capital resources. The costs for dispensing prescriptions were calculated, and descriptive statistics were used to compare the dispensing costs with the type of pharmacy license, weekly trading hours and availability of the pharmacist’s personal office. We found that dispensing costs in a community pharmacy average MYR 0.41 per minute or MYR 3.17 per prescription. The major cost drivers in the pharmacy dispensing costs were salaries and rent. This study provides an empirical basis for a proper reimbursement structure for pharmacy dispensing services in Malaysia.
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