New research center aims to improve drug safety, effectiveness

Interdisciplinary research effort to be led by Public Health faculty

A new research center dedicated to improving the safety and effectiveness of medications has been established at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the school announced today.

The Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness will address prescription drug use and pharmaceutical policy in the United States and overseas, and will be led by School of Public Health faculty in collaboration with colleagues from the School of Medicine and the School of Arts & Sciences.

"Pharmaceuticals play a vital role in the health and longevity of millions, yet many challenges prevent their optimal use," said G. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Center and an associate professor in the School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology. "The Center will focus on six core problem areas—clinical decision making, comparative effectiveness, global access and affordability, medication safety, pharmaceutical policy and prescription drug abuse—to improve the safety and effectiveness of medicines."

In the U.S., nearly three out of four doctor's office visits include a new or renewed prescription, and nearly half of the U.S. reports taking at least one prescription drug during the past month, according to a School of Public Health release. Rates of utilization among the elderly are even greater, with nearly 30 percent using 5 prescription medicines concurrently. The Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness recognizes the benefit of using prescription medications. However, they note it is not without risk. Each year, more than 700,000 individuals in the United States alone are injured or die because of adverse drug events.

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