The U.S. Pharmacopeia Public Policy Center (USP PPC) has been awarded a grant from The Commonwealth Fund to support a Fall 2001 conference that will examine how appropriate prescription drug use affects health care costs and quality of care and thus improving the effectiveness of prescription drug insurance programs. The date and location of the conference have not yet been announced.

The grant from The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation supporting independent research on health and social issues, will support costs of distributing the conference program results to Medicaid program staff, state and national officials, public and private research institutions, and health professional organizations.

The conference is being sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly the Health Care Financing Administration) and the USP PPC, as part of AHRQ's User Liaison Program (ULP). The ULP conferences are offered to help state health policy makers-including state Medicaid program officials (such as drug utilization review board members) and state pharmaceutical assistance program staff-to share experiences and lessons learned in balancing cost and quality of care in their states' prescription drug insurance programs.

"This partnership with the Commonwealth Fund and the USP Public Policy Center will help ensure that the research on effective and safe use of drugs discussed at AHRQ's User Liaison Program workshop will get into the hands of policy makers more quickly so that they can be used to make a difference in the care of patients and in the cost of that care," said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHRQ director. "It is critical that state policy makers have evidence-based information to make decisions that affect the health care of their constituencies."

For further information about the Public Policy Center, visit www.usp.org/ppc.

About the U.S. Pharmacopeia:
U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), a non-government organization, establishes standards to ensure the quality of medicines and other health care technologies. These standards are developed by a unique process of public involvement and are accepted worldwide. USP also helps to monitor quality and prevent errors in human and veterinary medicine through national reporting programs. USP is a not-for-profit organization that achieves its goals through the contributions of volunteers representing pharmacy, medicine, and other health care professions, as well as science, academia, the U.S. government, the pharmaceutical industry, and consumer organizations.