Effects of a prior-authorization policy for celecoxib on medical service and prescription drug use in a managed care Medicaid population.

Oregon State University College of Pharmacy, Portland, USA.
Clinical Therapeutics (Impact Factor: 2.59). 09/2004; 26(9):1518-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2004.09.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Prior authorization (PA) is a poorly studied but commonly employed policy used by health care payers to manage the rising costs of pharmacy benefits.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the intended and unintended effects of a PA policy for celecoxib on pharmacy and medical-service utilization in a Medicaid managed-care organization.
This was a retrospective, interrupted time-series analysis of 22 monthly health-related utilization rates from January 1, 1999, to October 31, 2000. All Medicaid claims for CareOregon (a managed-care organization) and a fee-for-service program were reviewed. A model was constructed to evaluate changes in utilization of therapeutically related drug classes (eg, conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs], gastrointestinal agents), office and emergency-department encounters, and hospitalizations before and after the PA policy was implemented on November 16, 1999. A secondary analysis evaluated these changes among a sample of prior NSAID users.
After the PA policy was implemented, use of celecoxib was immediately reduced from 1.07 to 0.53 days' supply per person-year (58.9%; 95% CI, 50.0%-67.9%). The monthly rate of increase was also reduced (P < 0.001). Utilization changes were not observed in other drug classes. Similar changes were observed in the secondary analysis. An 18% (95% CI, 2.2%-33.9%) nonsignificant increase in emergency-department visits was observed in the entire sample after the PA policy was implemented. However, a similar change was not observed in the secondary analysis of prior NSAID users. No other changes in medical service encounters were noted after the PA policy was activated.
This observational study found that celecoxib use was substantially reduced after the implementation of a PA policy. No important changes in use of other drug classes were detected. The overall increase in emergency-department visits--although not observed among previous NSAID users--should be explored on the individual level.

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