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April 7, 1999

Pharmaceutical Benefits Managers and Optimizing Prescribing—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(13):1168. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-13-jbk0407

In Reply: Drs Soumerai and Lipton raise several questions concerning our study design. While we agree that the quasi-experimental design used was less rigorous than the randomized controlled trial as exemplified by efforts under way within the Cochrane Collaboration, the main purpose of the article was to demonstrate the effectiveness of a DUR program in a community setting. State pharmacy laws require our pharmacies to conduct DURs for all patients; the Merck-Medco Partners for Healthy Aging program represents a specialized DUR for patients aged 65 years and older. Therefore, the use of a control group as suggested by the authors would be against public policy and in violation of state pharmacy laws.