Is Prior Authorization for Prescribed Drugs Cost-Effective?
April 01, 2008
With the increasing managed care restrictions on health care coverage, a look into the efficacy of some of these procedures is needed. This study examines the cost burden of implementing prior authorization (PA) for prescription drugs. Seventy-five prescriptions dispensed by 2 Philadelphia pharmacies requiring PA were tracked and the savings analyzed. Requiring PA proved to be financially beneficial to MCOs but resulted in an increase in uncompensated time for physicians and pharmacies. Two classes of drugs, antihistamines and proton pump inhibitors, accounted for 48% of the medications requiring PA. By educating plan members in advance concerning coverage limits for these medications, MCOs could decrease the use of PA and reduce the amount of time spent by physicians, pharmacists, and patients in dealing with this procedure. (Drug Benefit Trends. 2008;20:136-139)