FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lori Gardner, Senior Director
Communications & Marketing
301.984.9496 ext. 226
For Immediate Release: September 1, 2011
Association of Community Cancer Centers Releases New Resource to Help Hospitals Assess True Value of Drug-Based Oncology Therapies
ROCKVILLE, Md.—The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has released a new publication, “The Practical Cancer Pharmacy Workbook,” designed to help hospital cancer program pharmacy and financial teams move past the short-term orientation of considering only cost when deciding which drugs to purchase. The workbook and series of three companion webinars provide a practical approach to pharmacoeconomics, which explores the relationship between costs of healthcare interventions and the outcomes they produce. ACCC’s goal is to help hospital cancer programs accurately assess the true value associated with drug-based therapy.
“As hospitals continue to face increasing pressures to provide the highest quality care for the lowest possible cost, understanding the true value of the health services they provide to patients is critical for their continued viability,” said ACCC President Thomas L. Whittaker, MD, FACP. “The Practical Cancer Pharmacy Workbook” and webinar series are important tools for making choices among competing anti-cancer drugs.”
With healthcare reform and increased cost-consciousness, pharmacists—as well as medical directors, financial officers, and administrators—face continuing pressures to adhere to budgetary restrictions and keep down the costs of drug-based therapy. While some approach this task with the required level of sophistication, many translate the requirement to keep costs down into an overly simplistic rule of selecting drugs with the lowest purchase price.
An emphasis solely on purchase price ignores the reality that there are numerous other “costs” associated with drug use, including dosing, treatment side effects, and costs needed to support the use of a drug. Consequently, providers who rely entirely on drugs that initially cost less often spend considerably more because of the additional staff, space, and supportive resources that these drugs can require.
The publication and archived webinars are available through ACCC’s Center for Provider Education and ACCC’s Oncology Pharmacy Education Network (OPEN). They can be accessed at www.accc-cancer.org/openweb.
“The Practical Cancer Pharmacy Workbook” begins with an overview of pharmacoeconomics. Working under the principle that the best way to learn is to do, the workbook includes an exercise in which readers will conduct their own pharmacoeconomic analysis, and provides information to help guide participants through this exercise.
The text is presented in non-technical terms in order to make the subject matter more accessible to those with little familiarity with formal methods for health technology assessment. Readers gain sufficient grounding in the discipline that they can both understand pharmacoeconomic studies done by others and contribute to pharmacoeconomic analyses undertaken at their own institutions.
The publication and webinar series were made possible through an educational grant from Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company.