Prescription Drugs:

Information on Selected Drug Utilization Review Systems

PEMD-89-18: Published: May 24, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) several public and private drug utilization review systems; and (2) compared the systems with the system that the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) proposed to meet the provisions of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988.

GAO found that, of the seven systems it reviewed: (1) all provided information on drug-to-drug and drug-to allergy interactions and provided an alert for severe drug interactions; (2) none examined duplication of drugs or therapeutic overlap; (3) six could examine the interactions of prescription and non-prescription drugs and of drugs and disease conditions; (4) five could identify drug-to-food interactions; (5) three included information on minimum and maximum dosages; (6) one contained age-specific information on the elderly; (7) all could provide all the drug- and patient-related information the act specified, except the capability to enter data on diagnosis or condition; (8) all contained information on drug name, dosages, quantities, administration methods, name of the dispensing pharmacy, and name of the prescribing physician; (9) all attempted to provide some safeguards against improper access and disclosure of patient data; and (10) all differed from the HCFA-proposed system in the concept that they were network systems, rather than specific to individual stores.

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