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Clinical Pharmacy Services Are Financially Beneficial

Review of studies finds significant investment returns

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Clinical pharmacy services provide a significant investment return, although methods used to evaluate their economic impact need to be improved, according to research published in the January issue of Pharmacotherapy.

Alexandra Perez, Pharm.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues reviewed 93 articles measuring the economic impact of clinical pharmacy services. The researchers examined each study's design, type of economic evaluation, type and setting of the clinical pharmacy services included, quality and results.

The majority of studies were pharmacy-based, and were performed in hospitals, ambulatory care clinics or physicians' offices, or community pharmacies. The most frequent types of clinical pharmacy services included general pharmacotherapeutic monitoring services, target drug programs and disease state management services, the researchers report. Approximately half (48.4 percent) of the studies contained full economic evaluations, of which 69 percent reported an economic benefit, the investigators found. In the 15 studies that contained adequate data, the pooled median benefit-to-cost ratio showed that for every $1 invested in a clinical pharmacy service, $4.81 was gained in economic benefit. Only 43 percent of the studies were ranked as good to fair in quality, the report indicates.

The authors conclude that changes to study design "will improve study rigor and may significantly improve the ability of other pharmacists to implement similar services in other health care venues."

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