No need to tax the sick: Clinical guidelines for rofecoxib as an alternative effective method to the copayment policy in the advent of increasing pharmaceutical expenditures Academic Article uri icon


  • Over the last few years, major health care systems have been trying to control increasing pharmaceutical expenditures by a variety of methods, such as the controversial copayment policy, as essential health expenditures were being jeopardized. To analyze the regulatory intervention of preauthorization on a rofecoxib model in the medical corps of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in terms of indications for prescription, consumption, and cost. Guidelines established by the medical services branch based on current literature and communication with diverse specialists and hospitals were implemented by a general practitioner who checked each rofecoxib prescription that was written for IDF personnel by a specialist. The intervention was initiated in November 2000 and continued until August 2001 and after the study. The study was divided into two parts. The first part was a retrospective monthly, preintervention analysis of computerized medical records of IDF personnel (N = 247) for whom rofecoxib was prescribed. The second was a prospective monthly, postintervention analysis of filled-out guideline forms (N = 250) of approved rofecoxib prescriptions. Patients, were IDF personnel, age 18 to 45, treated in military and civilian outpatient clinics for whom rofecoxib was prescribed. The study took place at the Medical Service Branch of the IDF between August 2000 and August 2001. We demonstrated a significant decrease in average monthly consumption (43.0%) and estimated monthly expenditures (40.84%) of rofecoxib, as well as significant shifts (p < 0.001) in indications for whom rofecoxib was approved. These shifts (from pre- to postintervention) include the following: others/nonspecified (80 to 12%), known peptic disorder (7 to 32%), peptic complaints (4 to 22%), and rheumatic (8 to 19%). This type of intervention can be cost-effective, can provide quality care, and may be a viable alternative to the controversial and problematic copayment policy.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004