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I heard on the radio about a drug comparison guide that was prepared by the Oregon Health Plan and was posted on the AARP Web site. (http://www.aarp.org/wiseuse/oregon-research.html). The original document is on the Oregon Health Policy & Research Web site (http://www.oregonrx.org). They have posted evidence-based reports on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, statins, proton pump inhibitors, and opiods. The state Health Resource Commission was given the task of creating a list of the most effective drugs in those classes that be included in the state list of drugs used in the statewide health plan. The goal is to create an evidence-based list where clinicians and patients can select both clinically effective and cost-effective drugs.
My first choice in looking for drug information (especially for consumer-related information) is MEDLINE Plus (http://www.medlineplus.gov). The information is clearly and simply written with links to both the American Society of Health System Pharmacists and the United States Pharmacopeia. Need to check drug interactions? There are many interaction checkers on the Internet. Drugstore.com (http://www.drugstore.com) has an easy-to-use application for consumers and clinicians developed by Micromedex.
Much has been made about the cost differences between drugs in the United States and Canada. Although brand name prices may be substantially lower, the prices of generic drugs may not be so. A study by Palmer D'Angelo Consulting, Inc. in Canada (http://www.pdci.on.ca/pdf/Generic%20Pricing%20Study%20Final%20Report.pdf) reported that 21 of the 27 generic drugs examined in the study were actually higher priced in Canada.
The California Healthcare Foundation is a gold mine of freely available information. One article that caught my eye is entitled "Improving Drug Prescribing Practices in the Outpatient Setting: A Market Analysis" and is available at http://www.chcf.org/topics/view.cfm? itemid=20184. The report addresses "(1) electronic drug references; (2) integrated drug reference and formulary tools; (3) e-prescribing solutions; and (4) integrated electronic medical records (EMR) and e-prescribing systems. Each of the four categories is rated as low, moderate, or high on efficiency, lowering costs, improving patient safety, ease of implementation, affordability, and stability and use in the market. The results provide potential buyers with an easy way to assess the range of options and implementation considerations."
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