Formulary decision making might require some guidance

January 1, 2006

Seattle—With pharmaceutical costs being the fastest increasing component of healthcare costs, it is important that managed care executives adopt policies that use the best-available evidence to compare the benefits, risks and costs of drugs to include in their health plan formularies.

"Most health plans already devote significant attention and resources to formulary decisions," says Greg Simon, MD, MPH, a researcher at Group Health Cooperative. "It is our hope that formulary committees and other decision makers focus on important questions and ask for the right kinds of evidence."

According to Dr. Simon, the most important principles that MCOs can use to guide decisions that improve patient safety and lower costs include: