Fellowship in Pharmaceutical Policy Research

Escalating drug costs and accelerated use of newer medications, particularly in the treatment of chronic conditions, have fueled legislation and private sector policies designed to control pharmaceutical costs and regulate medication use. Unfortunately, few of these policies are based on reliable research evidence of their effects on access to effective medications, quality of care, and cost. The absence of evidence is due in part to a substantial shortage of individuals capable of evaluating these policies.
The Harvard Medical School Fellowship in Pharmaceutical Policy Research (FPPR) seeks to address this gap between research evidence and policy by recruiting and training clinician researchers, PhD students, post-doctoral students, mid-career university faculty and policy decision-makers. Led by DPM faculty well known nationally and internationally for their expertise in pharmaceutical policy research and consultation, the FPPR is the country’s first medical-school based initiative to train future leaders in research on the impact of drug policy decisions. The Fellowship encourages dialogue among academic researchers and public policy leaders to share research findings relevant to health policy decision making.
Since 2001, the FPPR has trained 42 fellows and five visiting scholars from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and the United Kingdom. Fellows have researched topics ranging from care seeking behavior in urban slums in Bangkok to effects on access to care and health outcomes of prior authorization policies for medicines in the US and pay-for-performance policy in the UK. Upon completion of the FPPR, fellows early in their careers have secured faculty positions at major universities. Mid-career professionals have used the FPPR experience to advance in their previous positions.
The FPPR takes full advantage of the unique setting of the DPM. Fellows benefit from outstanding training resources at Harvard University, have access to large researchable claims and clinical databases through the DPM-led initiatives, and opportunities to understand real-life pharmaceutical policy decision making in a premier US health plan. Fellows attend a bi-weekly seminar series in which they interact with leading researchers on domestic and international pharmaceutical policy.
Drs. Stephen Soumerai and Anita Wagner co-direct the FPPR and Division of Health Policy and Insurance Research (HPI) faculty provide intensive one-on-one mentorship for each Fellow. Fellows have received support from the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Harkness (Commonwealth Fund), the Fulbright Program and multiple other US and international fellowship funds.