Medco and UMDNJ Form Research Alliance
First Study to Explore Potential Link Between Diabetes and Anti-psychotic
3/23/05—Two of the nation's leading healthcare entities today announced
a far-reaching alliance to study major public health issues and
their effects on prescription utilization and healthcare costs.
The project will also explore policy changes that could improve
drug safety and health in New Jersey and nationwide.
Medco Health Solutions, Inc., one of the nation's leading
pharmacy benefit managers, in partnership with the School of Public
Health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
(UMDNJ) unveiled plans to develop the Medco "Institute at
UMDNJ for Drug Safety, Policy and Epidemiology."
The institute will develop research protocols and programs focused
on epidemiology, drug safety and quality, pharmaceutical cost containment,
medication insurance coverage, use of pharmaceuticals in vulnerable
populations and trends in drug management. The institute's
initial project will examine the potential association between the
use of anti-psychotic medications and the risk of developing diabetes.
"This alliance brings together one of the nation's
leading pharmacy benefit managers and the nation's largest
health sciences public university to play a significant role in
advancing quality healthcare in the state of New Jersey and beyond,"
said David B. Snow Jr., president and CEO, Medco. "As the
pharmacy benefit manager for approximately 2 million New Jersey
residents and tens of millions nationwide, we are in a unique position
to harness the knowledge of millions of prescription claims, and
to work closely with UMDNJ researchers to identify the policies
and behaviors that affect prescription safety, quality and cost."
"UMDNJ and Medco collectively present a powerful alignment
of resources that will provide a leadership role in the future of
public health issues and in the lives of the professionals that
will manage the most efficacious drug therapies and protocols,"
said John J. Petillo, Ph.D., president, UMDNJ. "This association
also strengthens our School of Public Health by providing our graduate
program students with unprecedented access to a wealth of information
about the prescription healthcare environment, and tremendous real-world
insight into prescription healthcare, to encourage their development
in addressing the healthcare challenges of tomorrow."
"The key to addressing the healthcare challenges we face is
to have well-documented, credible information on which to make decisions,"
said Dr. Eddy A. Bresnitz, deputy commissioner of the New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior Services and State Epidemiologist.
"The formation of this institute presents an opportunity to
develop information to identify patient safety risks and the factors
that could influence healthcare spending, and allow us to take appropriate
action to address those issues while maintaining a high level of
care for the public."
The Medco/UMDNJ alliance will also develop paid internship programs
enabling doctoral and post doctoral UMDNJ students to gain experience
working closely with Medco's research and epidemiology teams.
The agreement establishes the basis for a regular rotation of students,
faculty and industry experts between UMDNJ and Medco.
Additionally, the institute will create a series of healthcare
forums to deliver, debate and discuss the research and stimulate
scientific dialogue around its implications. The forums include
a statewide healthcare policy conference, a UMDNJ lecture series
and a library of white papers on research findings.
The institute will be guided by a steering committee consisting
of key executives from Medco and led by key clinical and administrative
faculty and staff from UMDNJ to oversee the day-to-day operations,
direction and areas of research.
The first proposed area of research by the institute is the potential
link between the use of certain medications for severe behavioral
disorders and the onset of diabetes. National studies indicate that
the prevalence of diabetes increased 69 percent in New Jersey compared
to 63 percent in the United States between 1999 and 2003; furthermore,
the cost burden of diabetes in the state of New Jersey is estimated
to exceed $5.9 billion annually. A separate Medco analysis of patient
prescription data found that the number of people in New Jersey
taking medications to treat severe behavioral disorders has increased
by 34 percent over the past three years.
"Recent studies suggest anti-psychotic medications may increase
the risk of diabetes; considering the growing use of behavioral
medications and the increasing rates of diabetes in the state of
New Jersey, a detailed investigation of the potential association
between the two would be invaluable in shaping public policy and
quality of care," said Roger Anderson, Dr. P.H., senior vice
president and chief pharmacist for Medco.
--March 23, 2005