PMA COST-EFFECTIVENESS STUDIES SHOULD INCLUDE DATA ON SERVICES -- APhA's SCHLEGEL
PMA's studies on the cost-effectiveness of drugs could be strengthened by the development of data on the cost-effectiveness of pharmaceutical services provided by pharmacists, APhA President John Schlegel, PharmD, declared during a panel discussion by pharmacy leaders at PMA's annual meeting, April 16 in Boca Raton, Florida. Commenting on the topic of new competition and opportunity in the pharmaceutical industry, Schlegel said that he "applauded" PMA's efforts to establish the cost-effectiveness of drugs through a series of studies published last year. But, Schlegel said, "it doesn't go far enough. We are looking at an issue that in my judgement is a total therapeutic benefit. We must go back together and redo those studies, and re-articulate the value of those studies in terms of the cost effectiveness of pharmaceutical products and services." In his remarks, Schlegel emphasized the theme that the drug industry and the pharmacy profession are both involved in "the much bigger business of providing therapeutic benefits." The APhA president declared: "Your products and our services are necessary together. Your products and our services alone are not sufficient to deliver to the American people what they want, what they expect, and what they have come to trust -- therapeutic benefit." Maintaining that "the 7% of the health dollar spent on pharmaceutical products and services is the best investment in health that an individual or a payor can make," Schlegel declared: "We should be creating a bigger pie and not arguing about who gets the bigger piece. The therapeutic benefits that come from the reasonably priced, high-quality products and professional services we provide are the most cost-effective and quality-of-life enhancing alternatives in the health care armamentarium. We must communicate that better in public policy forums." Schlegel told PMA that industry "must recognize that states will increasingly look to generic substitution for cost savings, and quite naturally, our pharmacists' professional skills will lead them to even greater product selection roles," Schlegel asserted. He urged: "It is most important that you decide how to approach changes in state laws with the greatest sensitivity to pharmacy. A quick decision to bring out the big guns to fight the legitimate concerns of pharmacists will quickly destroy the trust we are striving to establish."
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