Discovery, development, regulation and marketing of the medications that are used in health care and the economics of the pharmaceutical industry.

Penn’s Gant Family Precision Medicine Consortium Takes on Sustainable Targeted Oncology

Sep. 20, 2018

Biomedical advances in genomics and oncology, combined with rising costs for targeted cancer therapies, challenge the way we currently deliver and pay for cancer care. To foster the economic sustainability of targeted therapies, the University of Pennsylvania convened the Gant Family Precision Cancer Medicine Consortium, a multidisciplinary work group of experts from health care economics, policy, law, regulation, biomedical research, patient advocacy, and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry.

Cost-effective Screening and Treatment of Hepatitis C

Issue Brief
Sep. 17, 2018

In just five years, hepatitis C has changed from a difficult-to-treat chronic condition to one that is readily cured by a short course of medication. Medical breakthroughs have now created the possibility of eliminating the transmission of HCV, but also bring a new challenge for the health system—how to identify individuals carrying the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and how to pay for life-saving treatments. This Issue Brief reviews recent evidence on the cost-effectiveness of screening and treatment strategies, and makes the case for universal, one-time HCV screening for all US adults.

Improving Opioid Stewardship for Acute Pain

Aug. 9, 2018

As the country faces an unprecedented opioid epidemic, there’s an active national conversation about how inappropriate prescribing contributes to chronic opioid use, misuse, and addiction. Evidence is rapidly evolving to inform the policy debate, especially regarding best practices for prescribing in acutely painful conditions, like an injury or surgery, but the evidence is less clear on the best policy solutions.

Differential Pricing of Pharmaceuticals: Theory, Evidence and Emerging Issues

Aug. 9, 2018

Abstract [from journal]

Differential pricing—manufacturers varying prices for on-patent pharmaceuticals across markets—can, in theory, lead to increased patient access and improved research and development (R&D) incentives compared with charging a uniform price across markets. Theoretical models of price discrimination and Ramsey pricing support differentials based inversely on price elasticities, which are plausibly related to average per capita income. However, these models do not address absolute price levels and dynamic efficiency. Value-based differential pricing theory...

Physician-Industry Interactions: Persuasion and Welfare

Aug. 2, 2018

Matthew Grennan, Kyle Myers, Ashley Swanson, Aaron Chatterji


In markets where consumers seek expert advice regarding purchases, firms seek to influence experts, raising concerns about biased advice. Assessing firm-expert interactions requires identifying their causal impact on demand, amidst frictions like market power. We study pharmaceutical firms' payments to physicians, leveraging instrumental variables based on regional spillovers from hospitals' conflict-of-interest policies and market shocks due to patent expiration. We find that the average payment increases prescribing of the focal drug by 73 percent. Our...

Preferred Pharmacy Networks and Drug Costs

Ashley Swanson, PhD
Aug. 2, 2018

Amanda Starc, Ashley Swanson


Selective contracting is an increasingly popular tool for reducing health care costs, but these savings must be weighed against consumer surplus losses from restricted access. In both public and private prescription drug insurance plans, issuers utilize preferred pharmacy networks to reduce drug prices. We show that, in the Medicare Part D program, drug plans with more restrictive preferred pharmacy networks, and plans with fewer enrollees who are insensitive to preferred pharmacy discounts on copays, pay lower retail drug prices. We then use estimates of...

Addressing Out-Of-Pocket Specialty Drug Costs In Medicare Part D: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, And The Ignored

Aug. 1, 2018

[Reposted: Jalpa A. Doshi, Amy R. Pettit, and Pengxiang Li. Addressing Out-Of-Pocket Specialty Drug Costs In Medicare Part D: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, And The Ignored, Health Affairs Blog, July 25, 2018. Copyright ©2018 Health Affairs by Project HOPE – The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.]

Pediatricians' Vaccine Attitudes and Practices Before and After a Major Measles Outbreak

Jul. 25, 2018


The objective of this study was to describe how a sample of pediatricians were impacted by and responded to the Disneyland measles outbreak in the United States. We conducted three repeated cross-sectional, online surveys in 2014 (before the outbreak), 2015, and 2016 (after the outbreak) among members of three state chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics. We assessed pediatricians’ level of willingness and length of time comfortable delaying the measles–mumps–rubella (MMR) vaccine before and after the outbreak. Frequency of alternative immunization...