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After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to

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  • Describe the four types of pharmacoeconomic analysis: cost-minimization analysis (CMA), cost-benefit analysis (CBA), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), and cost-utility analysis (CUA).
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of pharmacoeconomic analyses.
  • List and explain the 10 steps that should be found in a well-conducted pharmacoeconomic study.
  • List the six steps in a decision analysis.
  • Give examples of the application of the pharmacoeconomic evaluation techniques to the formulary decision process, including decision analysis.
  • Apply a systematic approach to the evaluation of the pharmacoeconomic literature.

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  • Image not available. Pharmacoeconomics has been defined as the description and analysis of the costs of drug therapy to health care systems and society—it identifies, measures, and compares the costs and consequences of pharmaceutical products and services.
  • Image not available. Pharmacoeconomic studies categorize costs into four types: direct medical, direct nonmedical, indirect, and intangible.
  • Image not available.Perspective is a pharmacoeconomic term that describes whose costs are relevant based on the purpose of the study.
  • Image not available. There are four ways to measure outcomes, and each type of outcome measurement is associated with a different type of pharmacoeconomic analysis: cost-minimization analysis (CMA), cost-benefit analysis (CBA), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), and cost-utility analysis (CUA).
  • Image not available. There are two common methods that economists use to estimate a value for health-related consequences, the human capital approach and the willingness-to-pay approach.
  • Image not available. A CUA takes patient preferences, also referred to as utilities, into account when measuring health consequences.
  • Image not available. All four types of analyses described (CMA, CBA, CEA, and CUA) should follow 10 general steps.
  • Image not available. A sensitivity analysis allows one to determine how the results of an analysis would change when these best guesses or assumptions are varied over a relevant range of values.
  • Image not available. Decision analysis is the application of an analytical method for systematically comparing different decision options. Decision analysis graphically displays choices and performs the calculations needed to compare these options.

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Many changes have recently taken place in health care. The continued introduction of new technologies, including many new drugs, has been among these changes. From 2006 to 2008, 138 new drugs were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).1 New biotechnology drugs can cost over $10,000 per course of therapy. The increase in the number of new drugs combined with the increase in costs of drugs provides a great challenge for managed care organizations (MCOs) as they struggle to deliver quality care while minimizing costs.2

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Pharmacy and therapeutics (P&T) committees are responsible for evaluating these new drugs and determining their potential value to organizations. Evaluating drugs for formulary inclusion can often be an overwhelming task. The application of pharmaco-economic methods to the evaluation process may help streamline formulary decisions.

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This chapter presents an overview of the practical application of pharmacoeconomic principles as they apply to the formulary decision process. Students and health professionals are often asked to gather and evaluate literature to support the decision process.

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