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Am J Manag Care. 2004 Mar;10(3):209-16.

Physician satisfaction with formulary policies: is it access to formulary or nonformulary drugs that matters most?

Author information

1
Department of Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles 90073, USA. peter.glassman@med.va.gov

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess physician satisfaction with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) formulary policies and to examine the correlation between physician satisfaction and perceived access to formulary and nonformulary medications.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional survey with specific questions on access to formulary and nonformulary medications. Statistical analyses included assessment of associations between physician satisfaction and various measures of access.

PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS:

Initial sample of 4015 staff physicians working in VA healthcare facilities. Responses were received from 1812 (49%) of the 3682 physicians in the final eligible sample population.

RESULTS:

Most clinicians (72%) reported that their local formulary covered more than 90% of the medications they wanted to prescribe. Most (73%) agreed that drug restrictions were important to contain costs, and 86% agreed that it was important for VA to choose "best-value" drugs. Respondents reported an 89% approval rate for nonformulary drugs, though 31% indicated that approvals routinely took 3 or more days. We found strong associations between physician satisfaction and self-reported approval rates for nonformulary drugs (P = .001), timely approval of nonformulary requests (P < .001), and percentage of nonformulary prescriptions as a proportion of overall prescriptions at a regional level (P< .01). There was no significant correlation between physician satisfaction and number of medications added to regional formularies or with drug costs per unique patient.

CONCLUSIONS:

VA physicians were generally supportive of VA formulary policies including choosing best-value drugs to control pharmaceutical expenditures. Nevertheless, access to nonformulary drugs and timely approval of requests for nonformulary medications were strong predictors of clinician satisfaction and support for cost-containment measures.

PMID:
15032258
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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