March/April 2011, Vol 4, No 2

As stakeholders continue to strive for greater value in the US healthcare system, many are calling for more research to inform treatment decisions, particularly for providers and patients choosing between available multiple interventions. This charge has helped to ignite interest in comparative effectiveness research (CER), which aims to provide evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of competing treatment options for a clinical condition.

It is well known that the use of prescription opioid medications, more than other medications, is associated with risks for misuse, abuse, and diversion.1-3 The government and pharmaceutical companies have addressed this issue by implementing specific strategies to minimize the risks associated with prescription drugs in general and with opioids in particular.

Arecent report from the American Enterprise Institute suggests that better utilization of generic drugs in the Medicaid population could save that federal program and the states much-needed funds, by eliminating unnecessary utilization of the more expensive brand-name drugs for which appropriate generic substitutes are available.1

The release of the proposed new rules for accountable care organizations (ACOs)1 has elicited diverse reactions. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) encourages healthcare providers, suppliers, and Medicare beneficiaries to submit comments on the rules, which CMS will seriously consider before releasing the final rules on June 6.2 The ACO program will be launched on January 1, 2012.1

In recent years, the patient-centered medical home (PCMH)—often referred to in its abbreviated form, the “medical home”—care delivery model has become one of the hottest topics in healthcare. Based on a holistic, patient-centric approach, the PCMH represents a methodology aimed at fostering increased collaboration among healthcare stakeholders. As such, the PCMH is widely believed to offer perhaps the best hope to transform and improve the system as a whole.

Nearly 96% of all employers allow employees and covered beneficiaries to fill medication prescriptions from either retail or mail-service pharmacy. 1 In 2009, mail-service pharmacies dispensed approximately 238 million prescriptions, representing 6.6% of the 3.6 billion prescriptions dispensed that year.2 Mailservice pharmacies have enjoyed high levels of consumer satisfaction.3 Mail-service pharmacies offer consumers the convenience of home delivery, online ordering and renewal processes, and prescriptions filled with a 90-day supply of medication.

When More Is Almost Always Better

Major depressive disorder (MDD) often presents as a chronic and recurrent illness.

Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness: Escitalopram versus Citalopram

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