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Home medication reviews too costly

The current drive to implement home-based medication reviews by pharmacists is not cost-effective, a new study concludes.

An economic analysis of the HOMER trial of reviews conducted by pharmacists found they cost £1,695 per patient, compared with £1,424 for standard care controls.

There was no effect on hospital admissions and little benefit for quality of life.

Reviews therefore cost £33,541 per incremental quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained – with only a 25 per cent chance they would be cost-effective at the NICE outer threshold of £30,000 per QALY.

Study leader Dr Richard Holland, senior lecturer in public health medicine at the University of East Anglia, said: 'The current policy imperative for implementing medication review needs to be reconsidered in light of the findings of this study – a small, non-significant gain in quality of life, no reduction in hospital admissions and a low probability of cost-

effectiveness.'

The analysis, which looked at the effect of reviews over a six-month follow-up period, was published in the latest issue of the journal Pharmacoeconomics.

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