AMCP 2024: Behind the GLP-1 Spotlight Session with Ben Urick

Urick, senior principal health outcomes researcher, shares more about his Spotlight Session at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)’s Annual Meeting

April 30, 2024

Ben Urick presents at AMCP Annual 2024The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Annual Meeting is one of the largest trade conferences that Prime Therapeutics/Magellan Rx (Prime/MRx) Clinical/Health Outcomes teams attend each year, and this year’s event was no exception, with approximately 4,000 managed care pharmacy and health care professionals in attendance.  

But in many respects, when you walk the floor, it seems like a small world. I’ve often joked that our researchers can’t seem to walk more than 10 feet at AMCP Annual or Nexus without getting stopped by someone they know for a conversation in the hallway about their work or the wealth of data we present at these events. And this year was no exception. 

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist drugs were a hot topic among attendees — and with this class of drugs as the focus of four Prime/MRx research studies at the conference this year — that meant our researchers were in high-demand. 

In fact, our own Ben Urick, PharmD, Ph.D., senior principal health outcomes researcher, was invited by AMCP to present a Spotlight Session on our GLP-1 for weight loss research on the conference floor.  

I connected with Ben after the conference to learn more about the session, our research and what’s next.  

Alex Cook: What was your first reaction when you learned you would present a Spotlight Session on our GLP-1 research at AMCP Annual this year? Was this your first Spotlight Session?
Ben Urick: I was quite pleased to learn that I would present a Spotlight Session at AMCP. I had the opportunity to present this work at a regional AMCP in early April where Susan Cantrell, the CEO of AMCP, also was presenting. She saw the presentation and was impressed enough to give us an invitation to present. It was my first Spotlight Session, and I was impressed with the turnout. 

I know that the session itself was standing room only – did that surprise you?
It did, and it didn’t. These sessions typically have low attendance since most are vehicles for self-promotion from pharmaceutical manufacturers and vendors. GLP-1s are a hot topic and our work has gotten a lot of positive attention, so I knew there would be interest at the conference, but I didn’t anticipate the size of the crowd that showed up. 

I’ve noticed after most presenters leave the stage, they tend to get a flood of audience members rushing the stage to ask questions and to meet the speakers. It’s a real rockstar moment. What were some of the things you heard from the crowd after the session?
As much of a rockstar moment as any researcher could expect! There was a lot of interest in an extension of our current work, which we’re working on. This will extend our analysis window to two years to give insight into changes in health care utilization and spending over longer follow-up periods. 

We plan to have more research data on GLP-1s soon, but you gave a brief preview to this audience. What can you share today?
We found that among obese members without diabetes who initiated a GLP-1 for weight management in 2021, only 1 in 3 were persistent over the first year of use. Persistence varied significantly by product, with the highest persistence observed for Ozempic at 47% and the lowest persistence for Saxenda at 19.2%. Assessing changes in health care spending, in the year after initiation compared to the year before, and adjusting for trends among a matched population that didn’t initiate therapy, we saw that pharmacy spending went up by $5,694. Medical spending went up by $1,487, and total healthcare spending increased by $7,132. All of these differences were statistically significant and represent meaningful changes in health care use. 

Coming off a busy conference like AMCP Annual is somewhat of an adjustment because of all the time and energy you commit to prepping and going to the event. After the conference, how do you get back into the day-to-day work, and what’s next for you and the team?
It’s always an adjustment returning to day-to-day work after the whirlwind that is the AMCP Annual conference. We hit the ground running with a GLP-1-related session proposal for the AMCP Nexus conference in October and have been catching up on work related to our HighTouchRx® product, research evaluating the value of the IntegratedRx® network offering and supporting program evaluation for GuidedHealth®. We always have something to do on the Health Outcomes team! 

Listen to more from Ben Urick on GLP-1 research and our presence at AMCP Annual Meeting on the Pharmacy Friends podcast. For additional insights on GLP-1 drugs, visit our GLP-1 Strategy page. 

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