John Urquhart was born in 1934 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His 50-year career focused on improving medical treatment through innovative pharmaceutical development and improved large-scale monitoring of Drug actions.
As a graduate of Harvard Medical School (1959), he held fellowships in physiology and obstetrics and interned in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was an investigator at the National Heart Institute at NIH, and held professorships in physiology at the University of Pittsburgh and in biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California.
In 1971, John joined ALZA Corporation, founded by Alejan Dr. O Zaffaroni to advance medical treatment by developing new technologies to deliver Drugs so as to enhance their efficacy and reduce side effects. As Chief Scientist and President of ALZA Research, John collaborated with talented colleagues to devise innovative dosage forms such as transdermal patches and controlled release oral products that became models for industry-wide development of safer and more effective pharmaceuticals. These products were the first to be labeled for their rate of Drug release rather than by Drug content.
His next focus was on the need to improve treatment through enhanced compliance with Drug regimens and better post-marketing surveillance of prescription Drugs. In 1984, he and colleagues set up a team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands to develop methods to obtain complete, reliable and objective data on the beneficial and harmful actions of Drugs in large populations. This group evolved into Maastricht’s center for pharmacoepidemiologic research. John was appointed as the first professor of pharmacoepidemiology there. In 1985 he founded APREX Corporation to develop electronically monitored pharmaceutical packaging to measure patient compliance with dosing regimens. APREX was acquired by AARDEX Group. He remained associated with this enterprise in key research and executive positions.
John´s achievements are reflected in his authorship of over 100 published papers, 40 patents, and a co-authored book (Risk Watch : the Odds of Life). Other honors included: 1962 Upjohn award, The Endocrine Society (with F.E. Yates, A.L. Herbst, and D.W. Glenister) ; 14 th Bowditch Lecturer, American Physiological Society (1969) ; President, Biomedical Engineering Society (1976) ; Doctorate honoris causa, University of Utrecht ; John Urquhart Fellowship Program established by the Dutch Chapter of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology ; Distinguished Alumnus Award, Rice University ; Fellow, International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology ; Fellow, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh ; Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science ; Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom.
In 1996, Professor Urquhart initiated the first LowLands symposium on medication adherence, which is now widely recognized and known as the European Society for Patient Adherence, Compliance, and Persistence (ESPACOMP).
Jean Michel Métry
Jean-Michel Métry was born in Sion, Switzerland in 1955, was educated in local schools, and did his pre-doctoral education and research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich under the direction of the late Professor Max Anliker. Dr. Métry's first job was at 3-M Corporation, on cochlear implants.
In 1988, he joined California-based APREX (AARDEX today) Corporation as Director of APREX's European division, providing MEMS® adherence monitors to European clinical researchers. When APREX was reorganized and sold to Apria Healthcare Corporation in the mid-1990's, Dr. Métry and Dr. John Urquhart, co-founder of APREX, created AARDEX Ltd. in Sion, Switzerland, to provide electronic monitors for prescription Drug use in ambulatory medical care to the European clinical research marketplace.
In the late 1990's, AARDEX acquired the assets of APREX from Apria, and Dr. Metry became CEO of AARDEX Ltd., located in Sion, Switzerland In 2002. Dr. Métry and Prof. Urs Meyer, Professor of Pharmacology at University of Basel, published the book entitled "Drug Regimen Compliance: Issues in Clinical Trials and Patient Management" (John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK). Dr. Métry had a special interest in patient adherence during phase IV studies, as new, orally-administered Drugs came into wide usage. The results of these studies played a leading role in bringing wide attention to objective data on ambulatory patients' often poor adherence to prescribed medicines in all modes of ambulatory care; irrespective of disease severity or prognosis. His studies also brought light and recognition to the fact that variable adherence is the leading source of variance in patient responses to prescribed, orally-administered medicines.
Dr. Métry's career as a scientist, biomedical engineer, and entrepreneur helped create the pathway for today’s research in medication adherence.
Bernard Vrijens is Chief Executive Officer at Advanced Analytical Research on Drug Exposure (AARDEX Group). He is also Invited Professor of Biostatistics at Liege University, Belgium.
Dr. Vrijens holds a PhD from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Informatics at Ghent University, Belgium.
He currently leads a research program investigating (a) the most common errors in dosing using a simple but robust taxonomy, (b) particular dosing errors that can jeopardize the efficacy of a drug, and (c) the optimal measurement-guided medication management program that can enhance adherence to medications and maintain long-term persistence.
Dr. Vrijens is also the co-author of seven book chapters, over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and named as inventor on 6 patents. He is a founding member of the European Society for Patient Adherence, Compliance, and Persistence (ESPACOMP), and an active member of several EU- and US-funded collaborative projects around the theme of adherence to medications.
Dr. Vrijens is a highly-accomplished public speaker, having presented lectures at over 200 industry events and scientific conferences around the world over the past 20 years. Public speaking experience includes the NIH Adherence Network Distinguished Speaker Webinar Series, CDER Drug Packaging Summit at the FDA, European Society of Cardiology Congress, American Society on Pharmacometrics, WHO Global Forum on Innovation for Aging Populations, among many others.