Formulary is evidence-based

September 1, 1999

Pharmaceutical Representative

An "evidence-based formulary" that compares the safety, efficacy and cost of pharmaceuticals in the top eight therapeutic classes is being made available to clients of Express Scripts.

An "evidence-based formulary" that compares the safety, efficacy and cost of pharmaceuticals in the top eight therapeutic classes is being made available to clients of Express Scripts, one of the nation's largest pharmacy benefit management companies.

The formulary is based on post-marketing information and studies, clinical trial data and published research about each drug. It was created to counter the demand for certain drugs that has been created by the information provided in direct-to-consumer advertising.

"With direct-to-consumer advertising, Americans are becoming not simply patients taking drugs prescribed by their doctors, but they're moving to become consumers of prescription drugs," said Express Scripts CEO Berrett Toan in a June 29 teleconference to unveil the third edition of Express Scripts' "Drug Trend Report."

"We think that that consumerism movement is likely to lead to comparisons by consumers…about which drugs have the better clinical trial data, have the least side effect profiles and what their cost effectiveness might be."

Currently the formulary is available only to Express Scripts clients. "We have made this evidence-based formulary available to our clients for discussion purposes…to give everyone an opportunity to see…what our clinical pharmacists believe are the head-to-head comparisons of prescription drugs within a therapy class," said Toan.

As managed care becomes more of an issue, Toan hopes that having access to evidence showing why certain drugs are placed on formularies will make people feel better about formularies. "We think that eventually, people will be interested in the formulary from a positive perspective," he said. "Rather than now trying to manage it strictly through co-pays, there will also be clinical evidence to support the formulary, which should give the members the comfort that they are getting, on their formulary, the better products." PR

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