Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy: CER reviews valuable, but not used to full potential

July 1, 2011

Comparative effectiveness research reviews are valuable resources for guiding medication use decisions, but they are underutilized, according to a recent presentation.

Key Points

Comparative effectiveness research (CER) reviews are valuable resources for guiding medication use decisions but they are underutilized, according to information presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy's 23rd Annual Meeting and Showcase, Minneapolis.

The University of Arizona Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine and the Arizona Health Sciences Center have developed multiple programs to disseminate information to healthcare providers on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Effective Health Care Program related to CER reviews, to be used as guides in the P&T Committee formulary decision/evaluation process, as well as for other drug policy decisions in managed care plans and hospitals.

"Our training program focuses on helping clinicians obtain, evaluate, and make the best use of readily available CER reports," said Terri L Warholak, PhD, RPh, assistant professor, department of pharmacy practice and science, University of Arizona College of Pharmacy.

More information on CER process was discussed, including why CER researchers conduct studies that generate new evidence of (comparative) effectiveness for interventions (eg, medications, test, surgery, medical devices, behavior modification, etc.). This new research is used to determine the risks/harms and benefits in real-world settings of the intervention, with the aim of improving health outcomes. These evidence-based results need to be disseminated to patients, clinicians, and other healthcare decision-makers. Since CER is more of a real-world setting compared with pre-marketing clinical trials currently performed for drug approval, it is anticipated that the results generated will be more useful in policy and formulary decision-making because of its greater applicability.

Different reports are available in English and Spanish, and include: full report; summary report; clinician's guide; and patient or consumer guide. More information on the AHRQ Effective Health Care Program can be found at http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm.