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Meeting Summary

The 13th NIMH Biennial Research Conference on the Economics of Mental Health

September 25, 2006 – September 26, 2006
Bethesda, Maryland

Program Committee Chairs:
Susan Ettner, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Agnes Rupp, Ph.D., NIMH

In September 2006, the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR) sponsored a national research conference on mental health economics. Held since 1979, this biennial conference promotes the discussion of original technical research papers. Over the years, the role of pharmacotherapy in treating mental disorders has increased in importance, raising a number of research questions related to mental health economics. To address this issue, the Program Committee encouraged the submission of scientific research papers concerning pharmacoeconomics. This conference represents an essential step in developing the pharmacoeconomics research component of the Financing and Managed Care Research Program of DSIR/NIMH.

Conference presentations addressed the following topics, among others: cost and cost-effectiveness of psychotropic medications; analysis of market factors in psychotropic medication infusion and formulary design; econometric micro-simulations of the impact of Medicare Part D's new prescription drug benefit on the severely mentally ill; and, reduction of mental health disparities among vulnerable populations. In addition to discussions of technical papers, two special presentations were highlighted during the conference. The Robert Dorwart Doctoral Student Podium Presentation entitled "Benzodiazepine Use and Spending in Medicare Beneficiaries" was presented by Huiwen Kery Yang, M.S., University of Maryland, Baltimore. The Ninth Carl Taube Lecture was delivered by Susan Essock, Ph.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NYU, who discussed The Road Ahead: Research Partnerships to Transform Services — A Report by the National Advisory Mental Health Council's Workgroup on Services and Clinical Epidemiology Research (PDF file, 50 pages).

Approximately 100 participants from academia, government, and the private sector attended the conference. This meeting has demonstrated how NIMH-supported pharmacoeconomics research studies can contribute to improving the financing of health services for people suffering from mental disorders — specifically, how to fill gaps between scientific research and clinical practice and between scientific research and mental health care financing policy.

For more information, please contact Agnes Rupp, Ph.D.