Cost-effectiveness of pharmacist-provided treatment of adult pharyngitis

Donald G. Klepser, Sara E. Bisanz, Michael E. Klepser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: There are over 12 million ambulatory care visits for acute pharyngitis annually in the United States. Current guidelines recommend diagnosis through culture or rapid antigen detection test (RADT) and relatively straightforward treatment. Community pharmacists may provide cost-effective care for disease states such as group A streptococcus (GAS) pharyngitis. Objectives: The objective of this research is to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a community pharmacist-as-provider program for the diagnosis and treatment of pharyngitis caused by GAS as compared with standard of care. Methods: A cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted to compare treatment for adult pharyngitis patients. In addition to 5 physicianprovided treatment strategies, the episodic costs and benefits of treatment provided by pharmacists using RADT and walk-in clinics using RADT were also considered. Model parameters were derived through a comprehensive review of literature and from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services physician fee schedule. Utilities were expressed in quality-adjusted life-days (QALDs) to account for the relatively short duration of most cases of pharyngitis. Results: Using a cost-effectiveness threshold of $137 per QALD, GAS treatment provided by a pharmacist was the most costeffective treatment. Pharmacist treatment dominated all of the other methods except physician culture and physician RADT with follow-up culture. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for physician culture was $6042 per QALD gained and $40,745 for physician RADT with follow-up culture. Conclusions: This model suggests that pharmacists may be able to provide a cost-effective alternative for the treatment of pharyngitis caused by GAS in adult patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e145-e154
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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