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AHRQ Expands Program to Improve Safe and Effective Use of Medical Products

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Press Release Date: September 15, 2000

John M. Eisenberg, M.D., director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), today announced additional funds of $4.8 million for the Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) program, which the agency administers in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration. The funding for three new centers, which covers a three-year period, brings AHRQ's investment in CERTs to date to approximately $12.9 million.

"The CERTs program will boost the positive impact on patient care of medical products—drugs, biologics and medical devices," said Dr. Eisenberg. "CERTs experts are already grappling with complicated and difficult issues involved in the safe and effective use of medical products."

The new centers join four funded in September 1999 when AHRQ launched the CERTs program. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of health care and reduce costs by increasing awareness of the benefits and risks of new uses or combinations of medical products, and by improving the effectiveness of existing ones.

The newest centers are:

  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CERT. Principal investigator: Richard Platt, M.D. Total projected funding: $2,572,315. Funding period: 9/1/00-8/31/03.

    This center will develop and determine the utility of large databases for studying the effectiveness and safety of antibiotic use in children, drugs for preventing congestive heart failure, and outcomes from the use of hypoglycemics in diabetics, and it will bring together nine members of the HMO Network and their researchers, as well as investigators with medical schools, schools of public health and pharmacy schools.

  • University of Pennsylvania CERT. Principal investigator: Brian L. Strom, M.D. Total projected funding: $1,391,164. Funding period: 9/1/00-8/31/03.

    This center will conduct research on ways to reduce resistance to antimicrobial drugs and other research, such as drug utilization and subsequent intervention studies, medication safety studies, efficacy and effectiveness investigations and methodology studies.

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham CERT. Principal investigator: Kenneth Saag, M.D. Total projected funding: $804,623. Funding period: 7/1/00-6/30/03.

    This center is studying therapeutics used for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and other musculoskeletal diseases (MSD) and will disseminate new knowledge about MSD therapeutics, including their cost effectiveness and effects on health-related quality of life, and on ways to minimize the adverse effects of these therapeutics.

Other AHRQ-supported centers are located at Duke University, Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina and Vanderbilt University.

For more information on the CERTs program, select to access the CERTs Web site ( or the CERTs Fact Sheet.

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Robert Isquith, (301) 427-1539 (

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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