Economic analysis of community pharmacists providing influenza vaccination in Ontario
Author(s): ,
Daria O'Reilly
Gord Blackhouse
Sheri Burns
Jim Bowen
BScPharm MSc
Natasha Burke
Jeff Mehltretter
Nancy Waite
Canadian Pharmacists Conference ePoster Library. Houle S. 06/03/17; 174246; 25
Dr. Sherilyn Houle
Dr. Sherilyn Houle
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In 2012, Ontario pharmacists were authorized to administer influenza vaccines to individuals 5 years of age and older. Little is known on the economic impact of allowing pharmacists to vaccinate against influenza. The aim of this study was to conduct a pre-post comparison of the healthcare resource use and indirect costs associated with this legislative change, from 2011/12 to 2013/14. The Ministry of Health perspective was applied to estimates of direct healthcare costs, and the societal perspective was applied to indirect healthcare cost estimates.

Changes in vaccination rates were determined from administrative data. Efficacy of the vaccine, rates of physician and emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and lost productivity due to illness from influenza or obtaining the vaccine in different settings were obtained from the literature. Program costs considered both vaccine costs and professional fees.

A net increase of 448,000 vaccinations was realized after pharmacies participated in influenza immunization. A cost to the health system of approximately $6.3 million was incurred from these additional vaccinations, and a savings of $763,000 in direct healthcare costs was estimated, as the population vaccinated in pharmacies tended to be younger and healthier individuals. From a societal perspective, up to $4.5 million in lost productivity was saved as a result of workers not having to take time off to obtain the vaccine at community pharmacies (highlighting their greater accessibility and longer operating hours) compared to other settings, and an additional $3.4 million was saved from reduced absenteeism due to influenza illness.

The convenience of pharmacy-based vaccination rates among younger and healthier patients is estimated to result in savings from both direct and indirect/productivity costs. As this population of working adults are frequently caregivers for children or aging parents, vaccination of this hard-to-reach demographic is also expected to further reduce flu transmission to these more vulnerable populations.

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