This prospective study has been designed with the hypothesis that low unit price does not necessarily mean cost-effectiveness. Low-cost, domestic short peripheral catheters (SPCs) and higher-priced, imported SPCs were compared in 2 different time periods. With the use of the higher-priced, imported SPCs, the rate of successful insertion on first attempt was increased (P < .001), and the development of complications was reduced (P < .001). The study revealed that $345 was saved per 1000 catheters when the catheter with the higher unit price was chosen. Although the domestic SPCs had a low unit price, their use resulted in greater health care expenses.