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Pharmacoeconomics. 2013 Feb;31(2):163-71. doi: 10.1007/s40273-012-0012-7.

Valuing benefits to inform a clinical trial in pharmacy : do differences in utility measures at baseline affect the effectiveness of the intervention?

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  • 1Health Economics Research Unit (HERU), University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK. m.tinelli@lse.ac.uk



The generic health-related quality-of-life (HR-QOL) utility measures the EQ-5D and SF-6D are both commonly used to inform healthcare policy developments. However, their application to pharmacy practice is limited and the optimal method to inform policy developments is unknown.


Our objective was to test the sensitivity of the EQ-5D and SF-6D within pharmacy when measuring whether changes in health status or other co-variates at baseline affect the effectiveness of the intervention at follow-up. A further objective was to consider the implications of the findings for pharmacy research and policy.


The EQ-5D and SF-6D utility measures were employed within a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of community pharmacy-led medicines management for patients with coronary heart disease. The intervention covered a baseline visit with the potential for follow-up. Simultaneous quantile regression assessed the impact of the intervention on both EQ-5D and SF-6D measures at follow-up, controlling for baseline health, appropriateness of treatment, personal characteristics and self-reported satisfaction.


No statistically significant difference in HR-QOL across the intervention and control groups at follow-up was reported for either measure. Increased health gain was however associated with the baseline utility score (with the EQ-5D more sensitive for those in worse health) and the appropriateness of treatment, but not patient characteristics or self-reported satisfaction.


Neither generic measure detected a gain in HR-QOL as a result of the introduction of an innovative pharmacy-based service. This finding supports other work in the area of pharmacy, where health gains have not changed following interventions. Disease-specific utility measures should be investigated as an alternative to generic approaches such as the EQ-5D and SF-6D. Given that the RCT found an increase in self-reported satisfaction, broader measures of benefit that value patient experiences, such as contingent valuation and discrete-choice experiments, should also be considered in pharmacy.

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