Impact of Drug Plan Management Policies in Canada: A systematic review

Alena Morrison, Neil J. MacKinnon, Nicole R. Hartnell, Karen J. McCaffrey
Research Summary: 

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of drug policies on economic, clinical and humanistic (quality of life or satisfaction) outcomes.

Research Approach/Method
The authors performed a systematic review of articles that primarily evaluated the impact of a drug policy tool or technique in Canada, and that measured one or more economic, clinical or humanistic outcomes.

Key Overarching Message
Results suggest although the drug policies in most of the studies included in this systematic review did achieve the desired goal of reducing drug costs, utilization or both, the impact on other outcomes was seldom examined.

Key Findings
A majority of the 35 studies included in this review support the argument that drug policies reduce the expenditures on pharmaceuticals by third-party payers. Only 6 (17%) of the 35 studies evaluated the impact of drug policies on the clinical outcomes of patients, making evaluation of these outcomes (whether positive, negative or neutral) difficult. None of the 35 studies evaluated the impact of drug policies on the satisfaction of community pharmacists or physicians or on the quality of life of the patients affected by the policies.