Managed care pharmacy, socioeconomic assessments and drug adoption decisions

Alan Lyles, Bryan R. Luce, Anne M. Rentz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


A telephone survey of a representative national sample of 51 large managed care organizations in the U.S. (> 50,000 enrollees) was undertaken (1) to understand the role of socioeconomic assessments on drug adoption decisions; (2) to determine the sources of these assessments and the reliance of managed care pharmacy on each; and (3) to determine the resources for internally versus externally performed drug assessments. Socioeconomic assessments (clinical effectiveness, safety, cost of treatment, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life) are often tied to formulary decisions. Plans differ in their use of externally available socioeconomic assessments and in their ratings of the importance to decision making of drug assessments from the various sources. Those using a specific source of drug assessment information rated them in the following order of importance: PBM assessments, other HMOs, peer reviewed literature, evaluations performed by industry, articles in non-peer reviewed publications and, lastly, government reports. Timeliness and comprehensiveness are important components of the overall utility of information. A high percentage of plans reported using some of the various types of assessments, with clinical effectiveness most common, and cost-effectiveness second. The percentage of new drugs that undergo assessments in each of the plans covers a broad range, with 57% of the plans evaluating at least half of all new drugs. All but one surveyed managed care plan reported having either implemented or plans to implement a disease management program. Eighty percent of those surveyed are more concerned about drug assessments than in the past and 88% anticipate greater future use. Although 38 plans (75%) have a person in the organization responsible for drug assessments, this is the primary job in only 14 plans (37%). With greater reliance on drug assessments in the future, there are substantial management programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-521
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Disease management
  • Formulary
  • Managed care pharmacy
  • Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee
  • Socioeconomic assessment
  • Technology assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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