Clinical pharmacy services can significantly help curb prescription drug spending
and other healthcare costs, according to a new study. According to the University
of Illinois at Chicago, for every dollar spent by hospitals and health systems to
provide clinical pharmacy services, $4.81 was saved by the resulting lower drug
costs, reductions in adverse drug events and medication errors, and other
The researchers examined 93 studies on clinical pharmacy services from 2001
through 2005. “This is pretty consistent with the savings we have seen in
previous years. Over time, regardless of the kind of clinical pharmacy services or
the patients served … you see this savings,” said Glen Schumock, a senior author
of the study and director of UIC’s Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research. Most of
the studies took place in hospital pharmacies. However, many were also
conducted in ambulatory care clinics, physicians’ offices, and in community
pharmacies. “A higher proportion of these studies are coming from settings other
than hospitals in recent years. It shows that other facilities are offering these
services,” Schumock said.
The services in the study included general pharmacotherapeutic monitoring
services, target drug programs, and disease state management services. In nearly
70 percent of the studies (about half of the 93 were studied by the researchers
because of their economic focus), a positive economic benefit was associated
with clinical pharmacy services. Most of the savings resulted from direct medical
costs, such as lower drug costs and lessening patients’ hospital stays or doctor
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