November/December 2010, Vol 3, No 6

There may be discordance between what pharmacists say influences their formulary decision choices, and what actually influences those choices, according to an exploratory study examining the importance of product and manufacturer attributes.

The method used to measure medication adherence impacts the results of that measurement, and therefore researchers should use various methods depending on the overall goals of the study, according to researchers from the Accredo Health Group and Medco Health Solutions.

A pilot program in which specialty pharmacists monitored hemoglobin levels in patients whose physi­cians had requested refills of erythropoiesis­stimulating agents (ESAs) resulted in some dosing changes and sig­nificant drug cost­savings for payers.

Preliminary research on incorporating a clinical pharmacist specialist into a team managing a patient­centered medical home (PCMH) shows an emerging body of evidence to support the integration of these spe­cialists, and the potential for cost­savings once these caregivers are added to the team.

A year­long step­therapy program focusing on 10 therapeutic drug classes that also attempted to mini­mize member dissatisfaction with any changes among these drugs lowered the average gross cost per claim by nearly 13% while denying only 10.2% of prior author­ization (PA) requests.

Medication adherence varies widely depending on the condition for which a patient is taking that medica­tion, according to a retrospective study of more than 15,000 patients in an integrated health system.

Employing mandatory 90­day supply requirements for oral chemotherapy agents leads to drug waste and increased costs, and a shorter­term (30­day) supply should be considered for these agents, according to a pharmacy claims database analysis.

Finding ways to care for chronically ill Americans is quickly becoming one of the singular most critical healthcare challenges of our nation. Nearly 1 of 2 Americans has diabetes, heart disease, or another chronic disease.1 Millions more are at risk, and this generation of youngsters may be the first in history to have poorer health at an earlier age and lower levels of longevity than their parents.2

The outlook for generics for the next 4 or 5 years continues to shine, judging from patent expiration dates for many of the topselling drugs. The generics “pipeline,” therefore, practically ensures that the past several years’ trend of increasing market share for generics will continue with a vengeance.

Dalia Buffery: What changes can healthcare decision makers expect to see in the near future as a result of the recent national elections and their potential implications on the reform bill?

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