According to this article, the elderly are at particular risk from formulary restrictions, an important issue as more Medicaid and Medicare patients enroll in managed care. In fact, selecting less expensive drugs may lead to greater side effects in the elderly.
The article details a study that examined whether restrictive formularies are associated with differences in health care resource utilization, including number of office visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations, and whether this association varies by age. The authors conclude that common strategies for decreasing drug expenditures may be associated with higher severity-adjusted resource utilization. In specific areas, this association is more pronounced in the elderly.