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Study finds Medicaid drug selection COI policies vary, may be inadequate
By UCSF School of Pharmacy Editorial Staff / Mon Feb 11, 2013
How well do states’ policies address possible conflicts of interest of committee members who decide which drugs get Medicaid reimbursement? The question looms especially large as impending federal health care reform increases the number of patients covered by the state-run drug formularies.
A new study co-authored by Lisa Bero, PhD, faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy's Department of Clinical Pharmacy, and published online today in JAMA Internal Medicine, finds wide variations in such conflict-of-interest (COI) policies that suggest some may not adequately protect against pharmaceutical industry influence.
Indeed, the study, co-authored with Nicole Nguyen, PharmD (while she was a UCSF student pharmacist), found that current polices are neither transparent nor standardized: only 27 states’ policies were publicly available, and the requirements included a mixture of strategies ranging from COI disclosure alone, to self-recusals, to banning some or all industry relationship by committee members.
Such policies are important, Bero notes in a podcast that will accompany the study, because a previous study of hospital formulary committees found that “members who have more interaction with drug companies are more likely to request that drugs made by that company be added to the formulary.”
COI policies need to be improved and standardized, she notes, because “decisions about what goes on Medicaid preferred drug lists … should be based on the best available evidence and free of conflicts of interest.”
Read the study
About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.