Call for Postdoctoral Fellowship Applications: The Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL)

By Ameet Sarpatwari and Aaron S. Kesselheim

The Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Medicine and Harvard Medical School invites its 2015 round of applications for postdoctoral fellows in pharmaceutical law and health services research.  Current fellows have studied FDA regulation, patents and drug access and costs, and competition in the therapeutic marketplace.  Other areas of focus include intellectual property, ethics, and comparative effectiveness, as well as the development, approval, and evidence-based use of drugs, devices, vaccines, procedures, and diagnostics.

Applications are invited from researchers with doctoral degrees (J.D., M.D., Ph.D., Pharm.D., or equivalent) or who will complete such training by July 2015.  Fellows will have an appointment at Harvard Medical School, receive close mentorship from faculty members in the Division, and engage in one or more projects intended to start their careers in law and public health research.  Fellowship length will vary depending on the candidate (min: 1 year).

The deadline is February 20, 2015.  To apply, please send to akesselheim@partners.org: (1) a CV, (2) a writing sample, and (3) a cover letter describing your past work, ideas for the kind of research you’d like to do in the fellowship, and career goals.

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Monthly Round-Up of What to Read on Pharma Law and Policy

By Ameet Sarpatwari and Aaron S. Kesselheim

Each month, the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School reviews the peer-reviewed medical literature to identify interesting empirical studies, in-depth analyses, and thoughtful editorials on pharmaceutical law and policy.

Below are the papers identified from December. The selections feature topics ranging from access to clinical trials data, to pharmacy-based interventions to reduce primary medication non-adherence, to the impact of out-of-pocket spending caps on the non-elderly with private group health insurance. A full posting of abstracts/summaries of these articles may be found on our website.

  1. Bonini S, Eichler HG, Wathion N, Rasi G. Transparency and the European Medicines Agency—sharing of clinical trial data. N Engl J Med. 2014 Dec 25;371(26):2452-2455.
  2. Fischer MA, Choudhry NK, Bykov K, Brill G, Bopp G, Wurst AM, Shrank WH. Pharmacy-based interventions to reduce primary medication nonadherence to cardiovascular medications. Med Care. 2014 Dec;52(12):1050-1054.
  3. Kesselheim AS, Huybrechts KF, Choudhry NK, Fulchino LA, Isaman DL, Kowal MK, Brennan TA. Prescription Drug Insurance Coverage and Patient Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Am J Public Health. 2014 Dec 18:e1-e14. [Epub ahead of print]

  4. Nissen SE. Commentary: Confidentiality of interim trial data-The emerging crisis. Clin Trials. 2014 Dec 18. [Epub ahead of print]

  5. Notenboom K, Beers E, van Riet-Nales DA, Egberts TC, Leufkens HG, Jansen PA, Bouvy ML. Practical Problems with Medication Use that Older People Experience: A Qualitative Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Dec;62(12):2339-2344.

  6. Riggs KR, Buttorff C, Alexander GC. Impact of Out-of-Pocket Spending Caps on Financial Burden of those with Group Health Insurance. J Gen Intern Med. 2014 Dec 4. [Epub ahead of print]

  7. Zarin DA, Tse T, Sheehan J. The Proposed Rule for U.S. Clinical Trial Registration and Results Submission.N Engl J Med. 2014 Dec 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Monthly Round-Up of What to Read on Pharma Law and Policy

By Ameet Sarpatwari and Aaron S. Kesselheim

Each month, the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School reviews the peer-reviewed medical literature to identify interesting empirical studies, in-depth analyses, and thoughtful editorials on pharmaceutical law and policy.

Below are the papers identified from November. The selections feature topics ranging from the use of e-prescribing defaults to promote physician prescribing of generic drugs, to the characteristics of post-approval studies of medical devices ordered by the FDA, to a comparison of existing and emerging accelerated access pathways in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Singapore. A full posting of abstracts/summaries of these articles may be found on our website.

  1. Alpern JD, Stauffer WM, Kesselheim AS. High-cost generic drugs–implications for patients and policymakers. N Engl J Med. 2014 Nov 13;371(20):1859-62.
  2. Baird LG, Banken R, Eichler HG, Kristensen FB, Lee DK, Lim JC, Lim R, Longson C, Pezalla E, Salmonson T, Samaha D, Tunis S, Woodcock J, Hirsch G. Accelerated access to innovative medicines for patients in need. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Nov;96(5):559-71.
  3. Becker JE, Ross JS. Reporting Discrepancies Between the ClinicalTrials.gov Results Database and Peer-Reviewed Publications. Ann Intern Med. 2014 Nov 18;161(10):760.
  4. Gagne JJ, Thompson L, O’Keefe K, Kesselheim AS. Innovative research methods for studying treatments for rare diseases: methodological review. BMJ. 2014 Nov 24;349:g6802.
  5. Lexchin J. Postmarket safety warnings for drugs approved in Canada under the Notice ofCompliance with conditions policy. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Nov 12. [Epub ahead of print]
  6. Manz C, Ross JS, Grande D. Marketing to physicians in a digital world. N Engl J Med. 2014 Nov 13;371(20):1857-9.
  7. Patel MS, Day S, Small DS, Howell JT 3rd, Lautenbach GL, Nierman EH, Volpp KG. Using Default Options Within the Electronic Health Record to Increase the Prescribing of Generic-Equivalent Medications: A Quasi-experimental Study. Ann Intern Med. 2014 Nov 18;161(10 Suppl):S44-52.
  8. Reynolds IS, Rising JP, Coukell AJ, Paulson KH, Redberg RF. Assessing the Safety and Effectiveness of Devices After US Food and Drug Administration Approval: FDA-Mandated Postapproval Studies. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Nov 1;174(11):1773-9.
  9. Vermeer NS, Spierings I, Mantel-Teeuwisse AK, Straus SM, Giezen TJ, Leufkens HG, Egberts TC, De Bruin ML. Traceability of biologicals: present challenges in pharmacovigilance. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2014 Nov 5:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]
  10. Woloshin S, Schwartz LM, Frankel B, Faerber A. US Food and Drug Administration and design of drug approval studies. JAMA. 2014 Nov 26;312(20):2163-5.

New BoH Feature: Monthly Round-Up of What to Read on Pharma Law and Policy

By Ameet Sarpatwari and Aaron S. Kesselheim

Each month, the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School reviews the peer-reviewed medical literature to identify interesting empirical studies, in-depth analyses, and thoughtful editorials on pharmaceutical law and policy.  We are thrilled to announce that PORTAL (specifically Aaron Kesselheim and Ameet Sarpatwari) will being posting these curated round-ups at Bill of Health each month, with a full posting including abstracts/summaries at their website.

Below are the abstracts/summaries for papers identified from October.  The selections feature topics ranging from the cost-utility of specialty drugs, to the association between financial conflicts of interest and favorable assessments of newer influenza treatments, to the clinical evidence supporting biomarker testing reported in FDA drug labels.  We thank Lara Maggs and Nazleen Khan for their contributions to this review.

  1. Chambers JD, Thorat T, Pyo J, Chenoweth M, Neumann PJ. Despite high costs, specialty drugs may offer value for money comparable to that of traditional drugs. Health Aff (Millwood). 2014 Oct 1;33(10):1751-60.
  2. Chang CQ, Tingle SR, Filipski KK, Khoury MJ, Lam TK, Schully SD, Ioannidis JP. An overview of recommendations and translational milestones for genomic tests in cancer. Genet Med. 2014 Oct 23. [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Dunn AG, Arachi D, Hudgins J, Tsafnat G, Coiera E, Bourgeois FT. Financial conflicts of interest and conclusions about neuraminidase inhibitors for influenza: an analysis of systematic reviews. Ann Intern Med. 2014 Oct 7;161(7):513-8.
  4. Kesselheim AS, Tan YT, Darrow JJ, Avorn J. Existing FDA pathways have potential to ensure early access to, and appropriate use of, specialty drugs. Health Aff (Millwood). 2014 Oct 1;33(10):1770-8.
  5. Miladinovic B, Kumar A, Mhaskar R, Djulbegovic B. Benchmarks for detecting ‘breakthroughs’ in clinical trials: empirical assessment of the probability of large treatment effects using kernel density estimation. BMJ Open. 2014 Oct 21;4(10):e005249.
  6. Naci H, Alexander GC. Regulators should better leverage effectiveness standards to enhance drug value. Pharmacotherapy. 2014 Oct;34(10):1005-11.
  7. Sarpatwari A, Kesselheim AS, Malin BA, Gagne JJ, Schneeweiss S. Ensuring patient privacy in data sharing for postapproval research. N Engl J Med. 2014 Oct 23;371(17):1644-9.
  8. Starner CI, Alexander GC, Bowen K, Qiu Y, Wickersham PJ, Gleason PP. Specialty drug coupons lower out-of-pocket costs and may improve adherence at the risk of increasing premiums. Health Aff (Millwood). 2014 Oct 1;33(10):1761-9.
  9. Wang B, Canestaro WJ, Choudhry NK.Clinical Evidence Supporting Pharmacogenomic Biomarker Testing Provided in US Food and Drug Administration Drug Labels.JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Oct 13. [Epub ahead of print]
  10. Woodcock J. Paving the critical path of drug development: the CDER perspective. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2014 Oct 31;13(11):783-4.
  11. Yeh JS, Austad KE, Franklin JM, Chimonas S, Campbell EG, Avorn J, Kesselheim AS. Association of medical students’ reports of interactions with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and medical school policies and characteristics: a cross-sectional study. PLoS Med. 2014 Oct 14;11(10):e1001743.

Introducing New Blogger Ameet Sarpatwari

AmeetAmeet Sarpatwari, J.D., Ph.D., is a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and member of the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) [Twitter: @PORTAL_Research] in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His research draws upon his interdisciplinary training as an epidemiologist and lawyer and focuses on the effects of laws and regulations on therapeutic development, approval, use, and related public health outcomes.

Ameet graduated from the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar. He studied epidemiology at the University of Cambridge, receiving an M.Phil. in 2006 and a Ph.D. in 2010. His doctoral work centered on uncovering disease progression, treatment effectiveness, and co-morbid burden among adults patients with primary immune thrombocytopenia—a rare autoimmune disease—through the establishment of a national disease registry. He subsequently studied law at the University of Maryland, with a focus on health law, as a John L. Thomas Leadership Scholar, graduating in 2013.

Ameet’s work has appeared in such top peer-reviewed medical journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Blood.  He is the recipient of Robert Wood Johnson Public Health Law Research grant to examine the public health implications of variation in state drug product selection laws. Among other projects, he is also currently assessing the impact of risk evaluation and mitigation strategies on competition and off-label prescribing, and legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of financial incentives to promote physician use of generic drugs.

Welcome, Ameet!