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Rascati Authors Book on Pharmacoeconomics


Dr. Karen Rascati, professor of pharmacy administration, is author of a new book,"Essentials of Pharmacoeconomics." The book, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, provides a straightforward explanation of the essential factors of the economics of pharmacy practice. It defines terminology used in research and covers the application of economic-based evaluation methods to pharmaceutical products and services.

The term "pharmacoeconomics" first appeared in the literature in the mid-1980s. It incorporates methods from more established disciplines to help estimate the value of pharmacy products and services by comparing costs and outcomes. Rascati's book covers the application of economic-based evaluation methods to pharmaceutical products and services and includes examples of how pharmacoeconomic evaluations relate to decisions that affect patient care and how health-related quality of life is assessed and valued.

"When pharmacoeconomic studies first emerged in the mid-1980s, the average prescription was less than $20 and the patient paid most of this out-of-pocket," Rascati explained. "Today the average prescription cost is over $70 and the average person receives about 12 prescriptions per year."

"Drug costs are responsible for approximately 10-12 percent of the country's total health care expenditures. In 1990, the US spent about $40 billion on prescription medications; in 2006 we spent almost $250 billion. While medications costs continue to grow, it is important to keep other factors in mind," the author continued.

For instance, she explained, 20 years ago many patients diagnosed with an ulcer faced surgery. Today that same patient might be prescribed medications to heal the ulcer and thus avoid surgery. Therefore, while the prescription cost to today's ulcer patient may be considerably higher than it was 20 years ago, the medications may also reduce the need for costly surgery.

Rascati said the book also explores the various approaches different countries take concerning prescriptions. In Canada, for instance, the federal government negotiates for low prescription prices with drug companies on behalf of the entire country. Health care is nationalized and prescription costs are lower than in the United States. In the U.S., by comparison, insurance companies negotiate independently to contain costs for their customers, but independent companies do not have the same bargaining power as an entire country and, therefore, may not be as effective in getting price reductions.

Understanding pharmacoeconomic principles helps providers and decision makers improve clinical and humanistic outcomes based on available resources, the author concluded.

The book is designed for beginners and provides current and future practitioners the knowledge and skills needed to understand and use pharmacoeconomic research in decision making. The book is designed for use within the curriculum for the undergraduate pharmacy degree.

Last Reviewed: February 7, 2008

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