New Study Gives Insight into Essential Drugs

In a recent publication in the CMAJ Open, the online version of the Canada Medical Association’s Journal, researchers examined whether a refined list of essential drugs may make it easier for physicians to prescribe safe, effective and appropriate medications for their patients.

After noticing that current lists have thousands upon thousands of medications listed (for example, 3,800 in the Ontario Drug Benefit list), researchers created a new essential drugs list with a total of 125 commonly prescribed medications. The aim of the shorter list was to determine whether drug prescription costs could be reduced and it would be easier to prescribe common medications at primary care clinics.

Beginning with WHO’s original list of 448 items, the Canadian research team removed 368 entries that may have been similar to other drugs, were not actual medications, weren’t commonly used in Canadian medical practice, or that may need to be prescribed by a specialist. Researchers also added 28 medications that more accurately fit Canada’s clinical practice guidelines, as well as peer-reviewed suggestions for modification.

Once the completed list was compiled, the abbreviated medication list was audited by two medical practices in Toronto – one in the inner city and one in a nearby suburb. Results of the audit found that 90% or more of patients’ prescriptions were covered by the list. These initial findings are an indicator that a shorter list might not only help physicians who need to prescribe medications for their patients, but also that the majority of patients coming into a clinic would still have access to the drugs they need.

You can find a summary of the findings in this Benefits Canada article and read more about the actual research in the CMAJ Open.

At BlueRock Corporate Benefits, our experienced advisors are here to help when you want to ensure that your employee benefits program offers comprehensive solutions. We can assess your current plans to see where you should or could make some changes for better protection for your employees.

Keeping an eye on the drug benefit is crucial, as it is the most expensive and highly regulated benefit area. Contact us today to discuss your goals.

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