This two-part pilot project sought to evaluate drug benefits programs in order to make them more evidence-based. Researchers used a B.C. Pharmacare decision in 1999 that introduced a change in coverage for respiratory drugs. In part one, they offered a randomized set of physicians a six-month exemption from Pharmacare’s drug policy change and then measured outcomes by assessing the differences in health care utilization and quality of life between patients immediately affected by the policy and the randomized control group of patients served by physicians who were given the optional six-month exemption. Findings indicated that the policy was effective at saving Pharmacare money (an amount estimated at about $600,000 over the six months, and more than $1 million over the full year after the policy began). Part two developed a four-part “how-to” manual that set out steps for directors, managers, evaluators, and data systems managers to link policy to evidence in the field of pharmacare issues.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.