Positive outcome of Medicare drug benefit

December 28, 2005

An editorial by Richard Platt, professor and chair of the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention (of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care), says that an unintended effect of the Medicare Drug Benefit could be the creation of the world's most valuable resource for understanding how drugs are used, as well as their risks and benefits, especially among the elderly and chronically ill. This article appears in the Dec. 29 New England Journal of Medicine.

"This will be possible because drug dispensing can be linked to individuals' other health information," explains Platt. Covering more than 40 million people, Medicare data can transform our ability to assess drugs in real-life conditions, particularly in this vulnerable population of beneficiaries, which is often underrepresented in clinical trials.

The lack of systematic collection and analysis of post-marketing utilization and outcomes of medication has delayed discovery of some serious problems, which were only realized when millions of people were exposed. Therefore, it is important to review patients' full medical records in the small number of cases for which this information makes a critical difference. Two existing programs, one in the CDC and one in the FDA, share features that can be adopted for Medicare data.

Platt states that Medicare data will offer a great opportunity to improve the nation's ability to understand the balance of risks and benefits of drug treatment, and if taken advantage of, there will be increased data about whether drugs are used as intended, whether they have their intended effects, and how risky they are.
-end-


Harvard Medical School

Related Medication Articles from Brightsurf:

New medication may treat underlying causes of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Mavacamten, a new investigational cardiac medication, may improve heart function for people with thickened heart muscle leading to obstructed blood flow through the heart, a condition known as obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Therapy plus medication better than medication alone in bipolar disorder
A review of 39 randomized clinical trials by scientists from UCLA and their colleagues from other institutions has found that combining the use medication with psychoeducational therapy is more effective at preventing a recurrence of illness in people with bipolar disorder than medication alone.

Kids diagnosed with ADHD often don't take medication regularly
Children diagnosed with ADHD inconsistently take their prescribed medication, going without treatment 40 per cent of the time, a new study has found.

Long-term medication for schizophrenia is safe
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and their colleagues in Germany, the USA and Finland have studied the safety of very long-term antipsychotic therapy for schizophrenia.

Which is more effective for treating PTSD: Medication, or psychotherapy?
A systematic review and meta-analysis led by Jeffrey Sonis, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, finds there is insufficient evidence at present to answer that question.

ADHD medication: How much is too much for a hyperactive child?
When children with ADHD don't respond well to Methylphenidate (MPH, also known as Ritalin) doctors often increase the dose.

Pain medication use by children after common surgeries
About 400 caregivers reported pain medication use by children after common surgeries such as hernia, elbow fracture, appendectomy or adenoid removal in this study.

Bringing cancer medication safely to its destination
Treating cancer more selectively and more effectively -- this could be achieved with an innovative technology developed by teams of researchers at the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU).

Bullying linked to student's pain medication use
In a school-based survey study of all students in grades 6, 8, and 10 in Iceland, the use of pain medications was significantly higher among bullied students even when controlling for the amount of pain they felt, as well as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.

New medication gives mice bigger muscles
Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, have studied a new group of medicinal products which increase the muscle- and bone mass of mice over a few weeks.

Read More: Medication News and Medication Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.