PBM partners with university to study public health

May 2, 2005

Medco Health Solutions, one of the nation's largest pharmacy benefit managers, has joined forces with the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) to study major public health issues and their effects on prescription utilization and healthcare costs.

Medco Health Solutions, one of the nation's largest pharmacy benefit managers, has joined forces with the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) to study major public health issues and their effects on prescription utilization and healthcare costs.

The mission of the Medco Institute at UMDNJ for Drug Safety, Policy and Epidemiology is to develop research protocols and programs focusing on epidemiology, pharmaceutical cost containment, the use of pharmaceuticals in vulnerable populations, drug safety and quality, medication insurance coverage, and trends in drug management.

The institute's first initiative will explore the link between behavioral medications and the risk of developing diabetes. According to data from a recent report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ), antipsychotic medications may increase the risk of diabetes.

The institute will also establish a series of healthcare forums designed to deliver, debate, and discuss the research and stimulate scientific dialogue. The forums will include a statewide healthcare policy conference, a UMDNJ lecture series, and a white paper on research findings.

Roger Anderson, R.Ph., DPH, and senior VP, chief pharmacist for Medco, believes the alliance between UMDNJ and Medco would be beneficial to pharmacists. "As we have moved pharmacy toward the more interactive clinical-type practice, this sort of information is extremely valuable to practicing pharmacists. A database of information on drugs and drug therapies is a phenomenal resource."

Anderson commented that data from various studies will not only help pharmacists make informed decisions regarding P&T/formularies but will also give R.Ph.s more information that they need to conduct drug utilization review. Anderson expects the results from future studies to be shared with the public through professional meetings and articles. "Our intent on these studies is to publish the results in peer-reviewed journals."

The institute will be guided by a steering committee consisting of executives from Medco and led by clinical and administrative faculty from UMDNJ.