Objective: To explore influences on patients' purchase and use of asthma preventer medicines and the perceived acceptability of financial incentives via reduced patient co-payments.
Methods: Semi-structured telephone or face-to-face interviews were conducted with adults and carers of children with asthma. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and coded. Data were analysed using thematic analysis via grounded theory.
Results: Twenty-four adults and 20 carers for children aged 3-17 years with asthma were interviewed. For medicines choice, most participants did not consider themselves the primary decision-maker; cost of medicines was an issue for some, but effectiveness was described as more important. For adherence, cost, side-effects, perceived benefit and patient behaviours were important.
Conclusions: Patient barriers to adherence with asthma preventer medicines including cost are ongoing. Healthcare professionals need to encourage empathic discussion with patients about cost issues.
Implications for public health: Asthma patients and carers could benefit from greater involvement and respect within shared decision-making. Healthcare professionals should be aware that cost may be a barrier for patient adherence, and provided with information about the relative costs of guideline-recommended asthma medicines. Patients and healthcare professionals need education around the efficacy of ICS-alone treatment and the rationale behind co-payments, for initiatives around quality use of medicines to succeed.