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Pharma can provide support for chronic disease programs


Paul Setlak of Abbott Laboratories says that when it comes to partnerships, drug companies can provide a valuable asset to managed care organizations.

Key Points

THE COMPLEX U.S. healthcare system is finally seeing a breakdown among its far-flung silos of care. Slowly, the trend among formerly dissociated players has turned toward mutually beneficial partnerships.

"Chronic disease states, such as hyperlipidemia and hypertension, as well as rarer conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease, need monitoring and long-term care," Setlak says. "Partnerships, which can vary in intensity, enable MCOs to find the means to improve patient outcomes and ensure appropriate drug utilization."

"What we get out of partnerships is the ability to foster long-term relationships with MCOs to illustrate that we not only provide drugs but also offer value-added clinical programs," Setlak says. "We present ourselves as a clinical team focused on outcomes with a variety of options available."

He agrees that there are challenges of creating such partnerships, particularly in breaking the ice with plans initially and discussing the return on investment in new clinical resources.

Drug company Pfizer offers its Depression Benchmarks program with specific data for depression based on commercial claims information for more than 60 million patients. The data enables evaluation of a specific population's utilization, adherence, prevalence and costs against benchmarks. The program dissects the data by healthcare setting, and inputs can be selected to draw specific conclusions.

"Depression Benchmarks helps increase awareness of depression and highlights trends in utilization and costs," says Kimberly Jungkind, director, customer development, strategic initiatives for Pfizer.

She was instrumental in designing the program for Wyeth, which was acquired by Pfizer in October 2009. While the original program primarily addressed health plans, the updated offering also will focus on employers and medical groups, while making data available from other disciplines, such as case and disease management, health information technology, quality improvement, patient-centered medical homes, accountable care organizations and employer coalitions, Jungkind says.

The program provides a comprehensive look at depression, including data from patients taking drugs marketed by other manufacturers, she says. Jungkind anticipates that the data program will expand to address other disease states in the near future.

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