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Med J Aust. 2011 Jun 20;194(12):631-4.

A therapeutic equivalence program: evidence-based promotion of more efficient use of medicines.

Author information

1
Southern Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. ian.larmour@southernhealth.org.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The development of an effective therapeutic equivalence program (TEP) through the collaborative support of medical staff, using the principles of disinvestment.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

A TEP was introduced at Southern Health, a metropolitan health service in Melbourne, in the 2006-07 financial year. Therapeutic classes were selected for the TEP by stakeholder consensus, and a preferred medication for each class was selected on the basis of cost considerations and therapeutic equivalence. New patients were commenced on preferred medicines, but patients receiving another medicine from a therapeutic class included in the program were not automatically switched to the preferred medicine. For the first 4 years of the program, prescribing patterns were monitored, and savings achieved (due to lower prices for and increased use of preferred medicines) were calculated on a monthly basis.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Prescribing trends for preferred medicines, as a measure of acceptance of the TEP, and savings produced by the program.

RESULTS:

Over the 4-year study period, 11 therapeutic classes were targeted. The use of all preferred medicines increased once they become part of the TEP and a total of $3.16 million was saved. The annual savings increased each year, and the rate of increase was six times that of the increase in patient separations.

CONCLUSIONS:

The TEP at Southern Health resulted in significant savings. It showed that, by using a collaborative and evidence-based approach, the principles of disinvestment can be applied to use of medicines.

PMID:
21692719
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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