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UNITED HEALTHCARE LAUNCHING PHARMACEUTICAL ECONOMIC AND EPIDEMIOLOGY RESEARCH

Executive Summary

UNITED HEALTHCARE LAUNCHING PHARMACEUTICAL ECONOMIC AND EPIDEMIOLOGY RESEARCH service through a newly established unit named DPS Research. The research and data analysis group is part of the United Healthcare Corporation's Diversified Pharmaceutical Services (DPS). The firm is offering "standard or customized studies" in areas such as drug utilization, economic analysis, pharmacy management, and epidemiology and post-marketing surveillance. Prior to establishing the DPS Research unit, DPS provided these types of requested studies for several pharmaceutical firms and a handful of other organizations. In addition to expanding to other pharmaceutical companies, DPS said it will target research projects for universities and government agencies. DPS has access to pharmaceutical claims data for more than 3 mil. individuals, including about 1 mil. for which it also has medical claims data. The data is derived from a variety of services including claims administration and cost management along with health maintenace organization and managed care networks operated by Minneapolis-based United Healthcare. For example, DPS recently signed a three-year agreement with Health Net, California's second largest HMO, to provide pharmacy claims processing, utilization review and quality assurance for approximately 750,000 enrollees ("The Pink Sheet" Aug. 20, T&G-11). DPS Research's director is Stanley Edlavitch, PhD, who previously headed the University of Minnesota's cardiology surveillance program. In the early 1980s, Edlavitch was chief of FDA's epidemiology development branch. For the past few years, United Healthcare has been identified with the developing field of medical care outcomes research. Early technical assistance in developing the outcomes assessment protocols was provided through a contract with Quality Quest, a subsidiary of the Minnesota managed care research organization InterStudy which is headed by Paul Ellwood. In mid-1989, DPS launched an outcomes research project comparing alternative treatments, including at least one drug therapy, for selected medical conditions. The conditions currently under study are hypertension and coronary artery disease. Eleven pharmaceutical firms each contributed at least $100,000 to the project ("The Pink Sheet" June 5, 1989, T&G-4). The firms are Abbott; Glaxo; Hoffmann-LaRoche; Lederle; Marion; Merck; Miles; Pfizer; Schering; SmithKline Beecham; and Upjohn. DPS is aiming to complete reports on these two studies in the third quarter of 1991 and likely will prepare articles for medical journals. It then will consider additional studies.

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