Background Primary care pharmacists found an increase in osteoporosis drugs use and expenditure. This concern was forwarded to the hospital management team, which approved the implementation of a multidisciplinary strategy involving Pharmacy and Rheumatology Department.
Purpose To improve osteoporosis treatment and assess the impact of a cost-saving strategy in a health care area.
Materials and methods To carry out the project we made evidence-based abstracts about osteoporosis drugs of concern (teriparatide, parathyroid hormone and strontium ranelate) that were sent to physicians and we also called patients to attend an appointment with the rheumatologist. After that, we analysed the number of prescriptions and expenditure coming from general practitioners and hospital physicians 6 months after the beginning of the project and compared with data from the previous year when no intervention was made.
Results From July to December 2012 the number of drug prescriptions and expenditure decreased compared to the previous year as follows: Teriparatide, 41% fewer prescriptions and 6,159 € saving (-37%); parathyroid hormone, 78.4% fewer prescriptions and 88,272 € saving (-80%); strontium ranelate, 22.2% fewer prescriptions and 43,988 € saving (-30%). Overall, we estimate global savings of 192,419 € (-46%) compared to the previous year.
We find some limitations with these conclusions as the introduction of law 16/2012 could have contributed to the decrease in prescriptions as well as cost savings due to a greater patient contribution. Nevertheless, the overall reduction in number of prescriptions and pharmaceutical spending were 16% and 23%, less than the results we achieved with these three drugs.
Conclusions Simple actions like promotion of cost-effective use of medicines, providing evidence-based information to physicians, as well as the creation of a specialised osteoporosis consultation, were implemented in our hospital with positive initial results.
No conflict of interest.
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