Pharmacy Benefit Decisions: METHODS

To fulfill the research objectives, two focus groups with five participants each were planned. Potential participants were identified, based on their job titles, from among pre-registrants of a conference sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research. They were contacted by telephone to determine interest in participation and eligibility. Specific inclusion criteria required that they: 1) be 18 years of age or older; 2) be in a position in which they make pharmaceutical benefit decisions; 3) be able to successfully communicate in English in a group setting; and 4) have signed written informed consent to participate. This project was conducted under the auspices of the University of Arizona’s Human Subjects Committee. The participants were provided with an honorarium.

Table 1 Factors in the Drug Coverage Decision

Efficacy of the drug

Cost of the drug

Consumer demand for the drug

Physician demand for the drug

Health-related quality-of-life effects of the drug Cost-effectiveness of the drug Safety of the drug

Rebate arrangements affecting the drug

The two focus group sessions were identical and divided into four parts. During the first part, participants were given an introduction to the topic. Next, the participants were asked to rate the importance of various factors/ inputs (Table 1) in their organizations’ formulary management. Then, the participants were asked to read an abstract of a published randomized clinical trial (RCT) in which HRQOL was a measured outcome of the intervention. Facilitated discussions were held in the final part of the focus group, during which participants were asked about their 1) conceptualization of HRQOL; 2) perceptions of the usefulness of the HRQOL data presented in the abstract; and 3) views on the quality of HRQOL data that was generally available in the literature or promotional materials. In addition, participants were prompted to discuss their perceptions of the value of HRQOL data in the formulary management. The focus group discussions continued until no new information was obtained. The focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed and a content analysis of the transcriptions was performed.
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