best buy drugs, consumer reports, Minnesota


The objectives for this study were to apply four different approaches for disseminating Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs (CR-BBD) information about effectiveness, safety, and cost to patients for therapeutic classes of medications that they were using and then (1) evaluate the usefulness of the information to participants and (2) document resultant information seeking. For the three approaches that utilized face-to-face contact (Approaches 2 through 4), we also compared them in terms of (1) number of medications reviewed per person, (2) availability of CR-BBD information per person, (3) changes that could be made for each person, and (4) potential/likely cost savings (per person per month). Finally, we described the availability of CR-BBD information for each participant categorized by the 19 therapeutic classes of medications for which there were Best Buy Drugs reports. Data were collected via self-administered surveys, in-person interviews, and telephone interviews. The results showed that almost all of the participants in the information sessions held for this study had at least one medication for which Best Buy Drug information was available with significant savings potential to be gained by using the recommended Best Buy Drug. Potential cost savings through the use of recommended Best Buy Drugs was $89.47 per person per month averaged over all participants (n = 172) and was $157.20 per person per month for those with savings over zero dollars (n = 98). Thirty-two percent of respondents to our evaluation survey reportedly sought more information from a physician and 30 percent sought more information from a pharmacist. We concluded that provision of information about effectiveness, safety, and cost to patients has the potential for achieving significant cost savings. Recommendations regarding (1) the timing of provision, (2) targeting of recipients and (3) traversing impediments are given.