New tool helps decide what drugs to include in health care formularies

May 22, 2012

A new tool that could provide a useful framework for deciding what medicines to include in drug formularies is presented in this week's PLoS Medicine by the experts from Harvard Medical School and the University of Illinois at Chicago who developed it.

The experts, led by Gordon Schiff, say: "Formularies and committees that oversee them are present in some form in virtually every US hospital and outpatient drug plan and are highly visible components of public benefits in many countries. Thus decisions made by these committees directly or indirectly impact every prescriber, , and patient."

Although considerable attention has been devoted to their role in cost containment, the authors argue that "formularies' role in guiding rational remains underdeveloped and could be improved by a more standardized critical evaluation of drugs proposed for formulary placement."

So in a joint project, the authors developed a tool consisting of checklist of 48 questions for evaluating drugs to be considered for inclusion in the formulary related to the evidence of need, efficacy, , misuse potential, cost issues, and decision-making process.

The authors say: "The checklist can facilitate more standardized and critical scrutiny of the evidence and therapeutic alternatives. It can educate new committee members, guide discussions of drugs proposed for formulary addition, and be used to evaluate the quality of committee decision making."

The authors conclude: "we offer the tool for a broader audience to use and test. We hope that it will prove useful in improving the quality of formulary decision making and stimulating debate related to critical questions that need to be asked, highlighting essential data needed to more safely prescribe drugs."

Explore further: US Medicaid drug lists cost more, deliver less

More information: Schiff GD, Galanter WL, Duhig J, Koronkowski MJ, Lodolce AE, et al. (2012) A Prescription for Improving Drug Formulary Decision Making. PLoS Med 9(5): e1001220. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001220

Related Stories

US Medicaid drug lists cost more, deliver less

June 17, 2011
The U.S. Medicaid program is likely paying far more than necessary for medications and not offering patients the most effective ones available, by ignoring international evidence-based lists of safe and effective medications, ...

New drugs should be compared with existing treatments before approval, say experts

September 7, 2011
Manufacturers should have to show how their drugs compare to existing treatments before approval to help ensure that the most beneficial and safest therapies reach patients and that limited healthcare resources are invested ...

FDA could analyze public health consequences of its decisions better

May 9, 2011
A new report from the National Research Council lays out a framework for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to systematically evaluate and compare the public health consequences of its decisions concerning a wide variety ...

Recommended for you

Fighting opioid addiction in primary care—new study shows it's possible

October 18, 2017
For many of the 2 million Americans addicted to opioids, getting good treatment and getting off prescription painkillers or heroin may seem like a far-off dream.

With no morphine, 25 million die in pain each year: report

October 13, 2017
Every year, some 25 million people—one in ten of them children—die in serious pain that could have been alleviated with morphine at just a few cents per dose, researchers said Friday.

Study finds few restrictions on Rx opioids through Medicare

October 9, 2017
Medicare plans place few restrictions on the coverage of prescription opioids, despite federal guidelines recommending such restrictions, a new Yale study finds. The research results highlight an untapped opportunity for ...

Nocebo effect: Does a drug's high price tag cause its own side effects?

October 5, 2017
Pricey drugs may make people more vulnerable to perceiving side effects, a new study suggests—and the phenomenon is not just "in their heads."

Pre-packaged brand version of compounded medication to prevent preterm births costs 5,000 percent more

October 2, 2017
Preventing a preterm birth could cost as little as $200 or as much as $20,000, depending on which one of two medications a doctor orders, according to a new analysis from Harvard Medical School.

Cancer drugs' high prices not justified by cost of development, study contends

September 12, 2017
(HealthDay)— Excusing the sky-high price tags of many new cancer treatments, pharmaceutical companies often blame high research and development (R&D) costs.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.