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J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2017 Jun;23(6):613-620. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2017.16368. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

Is Real-World Evidence Used in P&T Monographs and Therapeutic Class Reviews?

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1 Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research (HOPE Center), University of Arizona, Tucson.
2 College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona, Tucson.
3 National Pharmaceutical Council, Washington, DC.



Payers are faced with making coverage and reimbursement decisions based on the best available evidence. Often these decisions apply to patient populations, provider networks, and care settings not typically studied in clinical trials. Treatment effectiveness evidence is increasingly available from electronic health records, registries, and administrative claims. However, little is known about when and what types of real-world evidence (RWE) studies inform pharmacy and therapeutic (P&T) committee decisions.


To evaluate evidence sources cited in P&T committee monographs and therapeutic class reviews and assess the design features and quality of cited RWE studies.


A convenience sample of representatives from pharmacy benefit management, health system, and health plan organizations provided recent P&T monographs and therapeutic class reviews (or references from such documents). Two investigators examined and grouped references into major categories (published studies, unpublished studies, and other/unknown) and multiple subcategories (e.g., product label, clinical trials, RWE, systematic reviews). Cited comparative RWE was reviewed to assess design features (e.g., population, data source, comparators) and quality using the Good ReseArch for Comparative Effectiveness (GRACE) Checklist.


Investigators evaluated 565 references cited in 27 monographs/therapeutic class reviews from 6 managed care organizations. Therapeutic class reviews mostly cited published clinical trials (35.3%, 155/439), while single-product monographs relied most on manufacturer-supplied information (42.1%, 53/126). Published RWE comprised 4.8% (21/439) of therapeutic class review references, and none (0/126) of the monograph references. Of the 21 RWE studies, 12 were comparative and assessed patient care settings and outcomes typically not included in clinical trials (community ambulatory settings [10], long-term safety [8]). RWE studies most frequently were based on registry data (6), conducted in the United States (6), and funded by the pharmaceutical industry (5). GRACE Checklist ratings suggested the data and methods of these comparative RWE studies were of high quality.


RWE was infrequently cited in P&T materials, even among therapeutic class reviews where RWE is more readily available. Although few P&T materials cited RWE, the comparative RWE studies were generally high quality. More research is needed to understand when and what types of real-world studies can more routinely inform coverage and reimbursement decisions.


This project was funded by the National Pharmaceutical Council. Hurwitz, Brown, Peters, and Malone have nothing to disclose. Graff is employed by the National Pharmaceutical Council Part of this study was presented as a poster presentation at the AMCP Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy 2016 Annual Meeting; April 19-22, 2016; San Francisco, CA. Study concept and design were primarily contributed by Malone and Graff, along with Hurwitz and Brown. All authors participated in data collection, and data interpretation was performed by Malone, Hurwitz, and Graff, with assistance from Brown and Peters. The manuscript was written primarily by Hurwitz and Malone, along with Graff, Brown, and Peters, and revised by Malone, Brown, Peters, Hurwitz, and Graff.

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