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Public Policy Professor and recent Ph.D. graduate receive health policy award

Oct. 11, 2007

Research!America has presented its 2007 Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award to Tomas Philipson, Professor in the Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago and Anupam Jena, a third-year medical student at the University for their study “Who Benefits from New Medical Technologies?” published in Forum for Health Economics and Policy.

Using a novel approach, Philipson and Jena measure the value of HIV/AIDS drugs developed from 1980 to 2000. They calculate nearly $1.4 trillion in total value — past and future — to consumers from these drugs, based on the resulting gains in survival. They also estimate past and future profits for producers of the drugs to be nearly $63 billion — or 5 percent of the total value. The authors conclude that such relatively low profits could reduce the incentive for producers to develop future HIV/AIDS treatments. They recommend exploring ways to raise the value to producers of new medical technologies in order to encourage further innovation.

Mark McClellan, former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administator, and Eugene Garfield, the award benefactor, presented the award to Philipson and Jena in Washington, DC. The award is named for Garfield, president and founding editor of The Scientist and creator of the Science Citation Index. McClellan headed the award selection committee. Both are Research!America board members.

Presenting the award, McClellan noted the contributions of past recipients and the need to build on their work.

“While the opportunity to understand and prevent disease and its complications has never been greater, the challenge for promoting effective, efficient use of increasingly diverse and sophisticated treatments has also never been greater,” he said. “Expanding our knowledge of the economic impact of medical and health research will help overcome the challenges on the path to better health that we all know lies ahead.”

Citing the importance of the Garfield Award in encouraging further study in this area, Mary Woolley, Research!America’s president, said, “We need much more work like that of Dr. Philipson and Dr. Jena to show how important health-related research is for our nation’s economy as well as our length and quality of life.”

Philipson is one of the nation’s leading experts in the field of health economics, he has served as a senior economic adviser to the U.S. government.

Jena completed his PhD in economics at the University of Chicago in 2006 as part of the University’s Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Training Program. He is currently a third-year medical student at the University of Chicago and a Bing Center Visiting Fellow at the Rand Corporation. His research has focused on the economic value of medical innovation, implications of cost-effectiveness policies for technological growth and the economics of fertility.

Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by more than 500 member organizations that represent the voices of more than 125 million Americans.


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Last modified at 12:22 PM CST on Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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