William F. McGhan PharmD, PhD
1995-1996 APOR President

APOR represents individuals from many different disciplines with substantial talents related to pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research. Our growing membership includes over 600 members from countries around the globe including Japan, China, New Zealand, Germany, France, England, Greece, Canada, and the United States. Our organization includes physicians, pharmacists, economists, nurses, statisticians, and other professionals who come from academia, industry, government, managed care, and research organizations. With the synergy created from the diverse backgrounds of this academy's membership, our mission is to develop pharmacoeconomic methods and tools that will improve patients' health outcomes.

Pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research are vital tools for solving the many challenges facing health care today and tomorrow. Only through interdisciplinary efforts and through organizations like APOR can we find solutions to today's health care problems. There are many benefits that pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research can provide for patients and society. I envision that within ten years from today, these tools will be part of an international and generalizable language that can be used around the globe to improve public health and advance quality of life.

Over the next few years we must consider what research guidelines should be refined and implemented. All our research and our guidelines must operate in the spirit of continuous quality improvement, part of a never ending process, toward ever better health outcomes. Separate research guidelines will be needed for each drug class or disease state. How can we facilitate the development and sharing of computer software, and communications on the internet to enhance science and practice? Some of the challenges in pharmacoeconomics can be linked to the challenges of balancing "one dollar is one vote" in the marketplace versus "one person is one vote" in the democratic process. It has been suggested that we consider certification of some pharmacoeconomists who would operate like certified accountants to audit clinical and economic reports. Self-regulation of our discipline would also suggest that we adopt a code of ethics.

In the determination of clinical efficacy, the implementation of rigorous research approaches has taken about a century to evolve. Pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research have just begun to be defined and applied. Besides defining what it means to do high quality research, we have an opportunity and indeed an obligation to take our knowledge and skills to the patient's bedside and workplace; to increasingly involve the patient in the decision making process. Pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research can provide the navigational charts to better health care for all.

I am confident that pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research can help us chart the course to a better health care system for all. To paraphrase Woodrow Wilson, visionary for the formation of the United Nations, "There is a very real sense, not mystical but plain fact of experience, in which the spirit of truth, of knowledge, of hope, of revelation dwells in an organization like this."

Messages from the ISPOR Presidents