Cost Effectiveness of Support for People Starting a New Medication for a Long-Term Condition Through Community Pharmacies: An Economic Evaluation of the New Medicine Service (NMS) Compared with Normal Practice

Pharmacoeconomics. 2017 Dec;35(12):1237-1255. doi: 10.1007/s40273-017-0554-9.


Background: The English community pharmacy New Medicine Service (NMS) significantly increases patient adherence to medicines, compared with normal practice. We examined the cost effectiveness of NMS compared with normal practice by combining adherence improvement and intervention costs with the effect of increased adherence on patient outcomes and healthcare costs.

Methods: We developed Markov models for diseases targeted by the NMS (hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and antiplatelet regimens) to assess the impact of patients' non-adherence. Clinical event probability, treatment pathway, resource use and costs were extracted from literature and costing tariffs. Incremental costs and outcomes associated with each disease were incorporated additively into a composite probabilistic model and combined with adherence rates and intervention costs from the trial. Costs per extra quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) were calculated from the perspective of NHS England, using a lifetime horizon.

Results: NMS generated a mean of 0.05 (95% CI 0.00-0.13) more QALYs per patient, at a mean reduced cost of -£144 (95% CI -769 to 73). The NMS dominates normal practice with a probability of 0.78 [incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) -£3166 per QALY]. NMS has a 96.7% probability of cost effectiveness compared with normal practice at a willingness to pay of £20,000 per QALY. Sensitivity analysis demonstrated that targeting each disease with NMS has a probability over 0.90 of cost effectiveness compared with normal practice at a willingness to pay of £20,000 per QALY.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that the NMS increased patient medicine adherence compared with normal practice, which translated into increased health gain at reduced overall cost.

Trial registration: Trial reference number NCT01635361 ( ). Current Controlled trials: Trial reference number ISRCTN 23560818 ( ; DOI 10.1186/ISRCTN23560818 ). UK Clinical Research Network (UKCRN) study 12494 ( ).

Funding: Department of Health Policy Research Programme.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Community Pharmacy Services / economics
  • Community Pharmacy Services / organization & administration*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Markov Chains
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Economic*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic

Associated data