Specialty Medicines Research

Specialty medicines, many of which are products of biotechnology advances, can provide novel and potentially life-changing treatment options for a growing number of serious conditions, including cancers and inflammatory diseases.  At the same time, the increasingly high costs of specialty medicines represent an enormous economic burden on patients and society.  Allocating scarce resources to specialty medicines involves many difficult ethical and economic decisions for both families and payers. Tackling these challenges in different health system contexts and from different perspectives requires a new program of multi-disciplinary, multi-method research.   

The Specialty Medicines Research Program seeks to generate evidence to support decision making by different stakeholders in health systems in the US and globally on providing access to, financing, and managing specialty medicines. DPRG faculty conducting research in this area include Drs. Christine Lu, Dennis Ross-Degnan, and Anita Wagner.

Research activities focus on:

  • Market entry and pricing of specialty medicines

  • Strategies for providing access to specialty medicines

  • Affordability of specialty medicines (to health systems; to households)

  • Appropriate and inappropriate use of specialty medicines

  • Impacts of approaches to manage access and use

  • Comparative effectiveness and safety of specialty medicines

  • Value of specialty medicines

  • Ethical dimensions of decision making around specialty medicines

  • Value, use, and impacts of biosimilars

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