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Three Cited for Research Excellence


Three members of the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy have been cited to receive the 2007 Award of Excellence for an article they authored that was published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Drs. Michael Johnsrud, Kenneth Lawson and Marvin Shepherd, all members of the college's Division of Pharmacy Administration, are authors of the award-winning article, "Comparison of Mail-Order with Community Pharmacy in Plan Sponsor Cost and Member Cost in Two Large Pharmacy Benefit Plans."

The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy on April 17. The article was published in the March 2007 issue of the journal.

The article presents groundbreaking research that examines the widespread perception that mail order pharmacy offers plan sponsors lower pricing compared with community pharmacy. Using price per unit and price per day methods of analysis, the research shows that mail order pharmacy had lower costs for the member, but not necessarily for the plan sponsor. An analysis across the top therapeutic categories showed that plan sponsors had higher daily costs for drugs dispensed through mail order for a majority of the categories.

"The intent of the study was to address the lack of published research that evaluates how certain plan designs, mail order as an example, can impact cost for plan sponsors and enrollees in prescription benefit programs," said Johnsrud. "We wanted to suggest a methodological approach that decision-makers could use to make sure they are getting the best value out of their particular prescription benefit program."

In announcing the award, the judges determined that the research focused on cost outcomes but raised the bar in the conduct of research in this area because of its sound and transparent methodology. It was judged to be relevant and important to a wide range of pharmacy benefit sponsors and society in general.

"Unit prices paid for comparable generic drugs were actually higher through mail order versus community pharmacy for many of the top generic drugs for both plans studied," said Shepherd.

"A key element to the research is the research methodology which used a relatively large paid claims database to examine payments by both patients and plans," added Lawson.

The academy approved creation of the award of excellence in 2002 as an opportunity to recognize an article published in each calendar year that represents the best scholarly work in managed care pharmacy. A panel of seven judges evaluates nominated articles to determine their impact on the profession or knowledge, relevance to managed care pharmacy today, scientific merit and sound methodology, clarify of purpose and hypothesis, and writing quality and readability.

Last Reviewed: April 15, 2008

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