|Selected research from leading health care experts whose findings have a direct bearing on public policies effecting medical progress. Research is chosen based on its quality and relevance by the Medical Progress Today editorial staff.||
Older Drugs, Shorter Lives? An Examination of the Health Effects of the Veterans Health Administration Formulary
Some policymakers have advocated modeling the new Medicare Drug Benefit on the VA National Formulary. This report, “Older Drugs, Shorter Lives: An Examination of the Health Effects of the Veterans Health Administration Formulary”, researched and written by Columbia Business School Professor Frank R. Lichtenberg, delves into the history of the VA National Formulary and estimates the impact of the use of new drugs on longevity.
The report finds that the VA Formulary may reduce the well being, life span and survival rates among the Medicare population. It finds that the majority of the VA National Formulary’s drugs are more than 8 years old—just 19% of prescription drugs approved since 2000 and 38% of prescription drugs approved between 1990-2000 are on the VA Formulary. Using demographic data to calculate life expectancy of veterans before and after the National Formulary implementation, Lichtenberg finds, “the use of older drugs in the VA system reduced [life expectancy] by 2.04 months” and the value of this reduction was almost $25,000 per person.
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