Pharmacoeconomics and Clinical Practice Guidelines: A Survey of Attitudes in Swedish Formulary Committees
Background: Swedish formulary committees are expected to influence prescribing practice by establishing and issuing drug lists and clinical practice guidelines, particularly now that financial responsibility for prescription drugs has been transferred from the national to the county council level. Objective: The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify the information sources and decision criteria that individual committee members perceive as important in establishing clinical practice guidelines. Moreover, obstacles to the increased use of pharmacoeconomic evaluations in decision-making were also identified. Design and setting: Data were gathered through a survey questionnaire administered in 1998 to members of central formulary committees throughout Sweden, as determined by a national register. Participants: 312 members of central formulary committees, of whom 69% responded. Results: Treatment policies/guidelines supplied by government authorities, or found in reviewed journals, are considered the most important sources of information, and criteria associated with costs and effects are considered the most important decision criteria. The members' years of experience and their professions affect their assessments of information sources, whereas education in health economics affects their assessments of decision criteria. Committee members voiced an interest in pharmacoeconomic issues, but warned that there was neither sufficient competence among committee members nor an adequate supply of relevant studies. Furthermore, a majority of the members identified difficulty in translating study results into clinical practice guidelines and limited possibilities in comparing studies as obstacles to the increased use of pharmacoeconomic evaluations. Conclusions: The results of this survey may be useful in designing future economic evaluations and when presenting and diffusing study results.
Pharmacoeconomics, Practice guideline, Prescribing
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