Pharmaceutical Care Programmes for the Elderly: Economic Issues
Grainne E. Crealey
Ian K. Sturgess
James C. McElnay
Carmel M. Hughes
Pharmaceutical care is defined as the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient The extent of economic benefit of pharmaceutical care reported in the literature is variable and its generalisability is suspect due to the lack of trials which have utilised a robust research design. The few studies which have undertaken a rigourous economic evaluation have used a range of data collection methods that is reflective of the difficulty of capturing essential data. Furthermore, even in well-designed studies, the generalisability of economic evaluations to other countries is questionable because of unique national data collection systems and an inability to pool international data because of disparities between different healthcare systems. The use of a suitable measure for health-related quality of life is also problematic in a very diverse and heterogeneous population such as the elderly and, therefore, adds to the difficulties of inclusion of such measures in economic analyses of pharmaceutical care programmes. A more standardised approach to data collection is required to facilitate economic analyses as an essential element in the evaluation of any pharmaceutical care programme for the elderly. Suggestions on such approaches, together with a critical appraisal of studies performed to date, are the focus of this review.
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