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USP–AMCP Select University of Iowa's Division of Drug Information Service to Assess and Test New Drug-Drug Interaction Standards

April 6, 2004

Rockville, Md. -- The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) together with the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) today announced the selection of the University of Iowa’s Division of Drug Information Service as the contractor for its new joint project, the Drug-Drug Interaction Initiative. The initiative is led by AMCP, the American Pharmacists Association, the American Society for Automation in Pharmacy, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association and USP.

One goal of the Drug-Drug Interaction Initiative is to provide pharmacists with reliable drug interaction messaging, based on agreed-upon industry standards. This is important because some pharmacists find that drug utilization program warnings either have little clinical significance or mistakenly flag redundant or irrelevant warnings. Therefore, some pharmacists may reject drug utilization review alerts, putting patients at risk for harm.

"Resolving questions about the evidence supporting the clinical significance of drug-drug interactions would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of prospective drug utilization review (DUR) systems," said Elizabeth A. Chrischilles, Ph.D., chair of USP's Therapeutic Decision Making Expert Committee and associate professor, University of Iowa College of Public Health. "Therefore, the study results will help us come to an agreement about the clinical significance ratings for information sources used in DUR systems."

Spearheading the creation of the new methodology is the USP Therapeutic Decision Making (TDM) Expert Committee, which was tasked with identifying and classifying drug-drug and drug-class interactions that posed the greatest risk of serious and/or life threatening drug-induced illness for patients. As part of this process, the committee also established a hierarchy of evidence to define drug-drug interactions--determining which types of evidence to consider regarding these interactions. The University of Iowa's Division of Drug Information Service, selected by USP, is now testing and assessing this new methodology. The overall goals of the initiative are to:

• Establish an evidence-based, clinically significant method to classify drug-drug interactions with a high probability of causing harm to patients, and

• Facilitate collaboration between health care providers and drug information publishers to ensure this methodology is applied and the results integrated into the DUR components of systems used at the point of care.

"The Academy looks forward to the results of the University of Iowa's work to validate the drug-drug interaction methodology developed by USP. AMCP is pleased to work on this important initiative along with our partners," said Judith Cahill, executive director of AMCP. "We undertook this important project because we believe that improved drug-drug interaction information can only have a positive effect on patient care and patient safety."

The evaluation of USP’s Expert Committee criteria, expected to be complete by the University of Iowa’s Division of Drug Information Service by September 2004, was funded through a grant provided by Janssen Pharmaceutica.

USP—Advancing Public Health Since 1820
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is a nonprofit, nongovernmental, standard-setting organization that advances public health by ensuring the quality and consistency of medicines, promoting the safe and proper use of medications, and verifying ingredients in dietary supplements. These standards, which are recognized worldwide, are developed by a unique process of public involvement through the contributions of volunteers representing pharmacy, medicine, and other health care professions, as well as science, academia, government, the pharmaceutical industry, and consumer organizations. For more information about USP and its four public health programs, visit www.usp.org/newscenter.

Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy
The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s mission is to empower its members to serve society by using sound medication management principles and strategies to achieve positive patient outcomes. AMCP has more than 4,800 members nationally who provide comprehensive coverage and services to the more than 200 million Americans served by managed care. More news and information about AMCP can be obtained on their website, at www.amcp.org.

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