Monday, June 25, 2007

A health economics survey of European Hospital Pharmacists

A very important scientific paper has been published in the EJHP Science (European Journal oh Hospital Pharmacy Science).

A qualitative survey, which was designed based on an earlier questionnaire developed and validated in the UK, was administered to all consenting hospital pharmacists attending the 9th Congress of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) held in Seville, Spain, 17-19 March 2004.

A total of 108 pharmacists attending the congress, from 14 different countries, participated in the survey. Pharmacists from the UK (n=33), France (n=16), Spain and Belgium (n=13 each), and Portugal (n=11) represented approximately 31%, 15%, 12%, and 10% of the survey population respectively. Other participants represented the Netherlands (6), Switzerland (4), Greece (3), Sweden (2), Germany (1), Denmark (1), Norway (1), Israel (1) and Malaysia (1). Two participants did not list their country of origin.


Study objectives: To explore the health economics knowledge base of hospital pharmacists and the level of importance they attribute to different sources of health economic evidence and types of analyses in relation to hospital formulary drug selection processes.

Methods: A brief health economics survey was conducted using an English-language paper questionnaire administered to 108 consenting hospital pharmacists attending a European congress in March 2004.

Results: Although more than 80% (n=88) of participants reported participating in drug selection processes, 43% (n=47) rated themselves in relation to health economics as not very knowledgeable, and 44% (n=47) reported having no formal training in this area at all. Clinical opinion and published reviews were preferred to published economic evaluations and economist opinion as sources of economic evidence. Cost-effectiveness and budget impact analyses were identified as either essential or very important by 88% (n=45) and 74% (n=38) of participants, respectively, who reported using the results of economic analyses in drug selection decisions (n=51). Barriers to the use of economic evaluations were lack of time to evaluate results, lack of availability, difficulty analysing results and poor transparency, in this order.

Conclusion: Hospital pharmacists are central to the hospital formulary drug selection process. Health economists should be more proactive in their support of this group of professionals, either through initiatives aimed to help expand their health economics knowledge base, or by making a more concerted effort to collaborate with clinical experts in the dissemination of economic data
in timely and transparent drug reviews.

Krista Payne, MEd, Irina Proskorovsky, BSc
Caro Research Institute


You can find the whole paper and full contact details for the authors in the following address (it's the homepage of EAHP European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, subpage of the Journal):