The three dimensions of managed care pharmacy practice. (1/161)

Our goal is to provide a framework for pharmacy in an evolving healthcare marketplace by identifying and discussing the three dimensions of pharmacy practice: (1) pharmacy practice across the continuum of care; (2) the major elements of pharmacy practice; and (3) the evolution of pharmacy during the five stages of the development of managed care. The framework was devised under the proposition that there is a substantial consistency in what patients need or should expect from pharmacists. As integrated health systems develop, pharmacists must apply their skills and knowledge across the continuum of care to ensure that they play an integral part in the systems. In a managed care environment characterized by change and the development of integrated health systems, pharmacists have opportunities to become involved directly in patient care in such areas as disease prevention, home healthcare, primary care, and subacute care. Information systems, hospital drug distribution, clinical pharmacy, and the fiscal environment comprise the major elements of pharmacy practice within an integrated health system, and the way in which each of these elements evolves as the healthcare market adapts to managed care is critical to pharmacy practice. If the pharmacy profession can demonstrate its ability to manage disease and health, improve outcomes, and reduce costs within the evolving healthcare system, pharmacists will play a vital role in the managed healthcare market in the approaching new millennium.  (+info)

Effectiveness and economic impact of antidepressant medications: a review. (2/161)

This article reviews the existing literature on the pharmacoeconomics and effectiveness of antidepressant medications. Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have not proved to be more efficacious than the older tricyclics, and their prescription costs are significantly higher, they provide superior effectiveness; ie, patients are less likely to discontinue taking them or switch antidepressants. Pharmacoeconomic studies consistently demonstrate a relationship between this superior effectiveness and reductions in overall treatment costs, often through decreased utilization of medical and hospital services. The most conservative study found a cost offset that more than negated the extra cost of drugs, although the cost savings were not statistically significant. Other studies found statistically significant lowering of utilization costs by using SSRIs rather than tricyclics. Studies comparing SSRIs with each other present conflicting findings, although fluoxetine appears to have an edge over sertraline and paroxetine with regards to effectiveness and pharmacoeconomics. More studies employing a prospective outcome design and naturalistic study setting need to be conducted with SSRIs and other new antidepressants.  (+info)

The challenge of integrating monoclonal antibodies into the current healthcare system. (3/161)

Although there are few monoclonal antibody (MoAb) products on the market, the biotechnology industry has made considerable progress over the last decade. The industry has developed new technology to address the primary hurdles facing the development of MoAbs--including the immune response to murine-derived antibodies as well as lack of tumor specificity. As the techniques for development become more refined, more products will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Integrating these products into the existing healthcare system will be a challenge, given their high acquisition costs. Recent pharmacoeconomic examples outlined in this paper confirm that MoAb products will need to be supported with proven clinical and economic profiles. As long as a global clinical and economic perspective is taken and patient care benefits can be demonstrated, the place of MoAbs in the future of healthcare will be assured.  (+info)

Managed care guidelines for the economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals. (4/161)

Foundation Health Corporation, through its National Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, requires all pharmaceutical manufacturers and others who wish products to be considered for formulary listing to meet evidentiary and analytical standards in their submission documentation. This article details the evidentiary and analytical standards required from those making submissions and describes the methodological basis of the guidelines. This is the first time, as far as the authors are aware, that a managed care health system in the United States has required formulary submissions not only to meet clinical and economic evaluation standards, but also to take explicit account of the perspective of the managed care group in applying these techniques. Submissions are required to take what is described as a systems impact perspective. This approach is quite different, in both evidentiary and analytical terms, from standards required by health systems in other countries and standards for the economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals proposed by expert groups in the United States.  (+info)

Financing pharmaceuticals in transition economies. (5/161)

This paper (a) provides a methodological taxonomy of pricing, financing, reimbursement, and cost containment methodologies for pharmaceuticals; (b) analyzes complex agency relationships and the health versus industrial policy tradeoff; (c) pinpoints financing measures to balance safety and effectiveness of medicines and their affordability by publicly funded systems in transition; and (d) highlights viable options for policy-makers for the financing of pharmaceuticals in transition. Three categories of measures and their implications for pharmaceutical policy cost containing are analyzed: supply-side measures, targeting manufacturers, proxy demand-side measures, targeting physicians and pharmacists, and demand-side measures, targeting patients. In pursuing supply side measures, we explore free pricing for pharmaceuticals, direct price controls, cost-plus and cost pricing, average pricing and international price comparisons, profit control, reference pricing, the introduction of a fourth hurdle, positive and negative lists, and other price control measures. The analysis of proxy-demand measures includes budgets for physicians, generic policies, practice guidelines, monitoring the authorizing behavior of physicians, and disease management schemes. Demand-side measures explore the effectiveness of patient co-payments, the impact of allowing products over-the-counter and health promotion programs. Global policies should operate simultaneously on the supply, the proxy demand, and the demand-side. Policy-making needs to have a continuous long-term planning. The importation of policies into transition economy may require extensive and expensive adaptation, and/or lead to sub-optimal policy outcomes.  (+info)

How should managed care treat onychomycosis? (6/161)

This activity is designed for leaders and managers of managed care organizations and for primary care physicians and specialists involved in evaluating, treating, and caring for patients with onychomycosis. GOAL: To help health professionals care for patients with onychomycosis through a discussion of new treatment choices that exist due to recently approved oral antifungal agents for this chronic medical condition. OBJECTIVES: 1. Review the anatomy of the nail unit in relation to the pathogenesis, epidemiology, and clinical features of onychomycosis. 2. Stress the importance of confirming the diagnosis of onychomycosis using relatively simple and cost-effective laboratory procedures, since there are many other nonfungal conditions that can pathologically involve the nail unit. 3. Detail the ways in which onychomycosis can adversely affect a patient's quality of life. 4. Analyze the change in treatment patterns brought about by newer potentially curative oral antifungal therapy. 5. Identify potential problems with onychomycosis oral antifungal therapy, including dosing issues, possible adverse events, and drug-drug interactions.  (+info)

Reference-based pricing of prescription drugs: exploring the equivalence of angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors. (7/161)

BACKGROUND: Reference-based pricing is a cost-containment policy applied to prescription drugs that are in the same class and deemed to be therapeutically equivalent. Recent reference-based pricing measures have targeted several drug classes, including angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. The objective of this study was to assess whether patients treated for hypertension with various ACE inhibitors differed in their utilization of health care services and hence, whether the various ACE inhibitors should be considered therapeutically equivalent. METHODS: A retrospective cohort was formed from 4709 Saskatchewan residents aged 40-79 years who initiated treatment for hypertension with 1 of the 3 most frequently prescribed ACE inhibitors (captopril, enalapril or lisinopril) between Jan. 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 1993. Information obtained from universal insurance databases included prescription drug use, the number of visits to a general practitioner (GP) or specialist and the number of hospital admissions during the year before treatment was initiated and during a follow-up period of up to 4 years. Rates were statistically adjusted for potential confounding variables and compared across treatment groups. RESULTS: Of the 4709 patients, 529 were prescribed captopril initially, 2939 enalapril and 1241 lisinopril. After treatment was initiated patients prescribed captopril were dispensed more medications on average, with an overall rate of 18.6 prescriptions per patient per year (v. 16.4 and 14.7 for enalapril and lisinopril users respectively); they were admitted to hospital more often, and they made more visits to GPs and specialists. The adjusted rate ratio of the number of visits to a GP for patients receiving enalapril, relative to captopril, was 0.84 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.80-0.88), and for those receiving lisinopril it was 0.79 (95% CI 0.74-0.83). The adjusted rate ratios for the number of visits to a specialist were similar but lower, and for the number of hospital admissions they were 0.82 for patients prescribed enalapril initially (95% CI 0.73-0.93) and 0.65 (95% CI 0.56-0.75) for those prescribed lisinopril. INTERPRETATION: Patients with hypertension who are initially prescribed captopril used health care services more than those initially prescribed enalapril or lisinopril. This suggests that ACE inhibitors may not be therapeutically equivalent.  (+info)

Evaluating reference-based pricing: initial findings and prospects. (8/161)

Reference-based pricing is a controversial policy mechanism used to control pharmaceutical expenditures. After its implementation in some European countries, the British Columbia government introduced a version of reference-based pricing in October 1995. The authors reviewed previous studies of reference-based pricing in other countries and conducted a preliminary assessment of the impacts of the BC system by analysing secondary utilization and cost data. After the introduction of reference-based pricing in other jurisdictions within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, there was a temporary reduction in the rate of growth of total pharmaceutical expenditures, followed by a return to previous growth trends in subsequent years. Similarly, initial data from BC showed dramatic declines in annual expenditures for drugs within referenced categories (from $42.0 million the year before reference-based pricing was introduced to $23.7 million the year after). Although early evidence suggests that reference-based pricing in BC is indeed reducing drug expenditures, much more research is needed to make a final determination of its success. A more comprehensive and longitudinal evaluation of reference-based pricing is needed and should take into account a wide range of non-cost impacts, the most important of which are the effects on health outcomes.  (+info)