HPM Department News

Hernandez study investigates rising drug prices

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PITT WIRE - A recent study led by Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16), assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, found that new drugs entering the market drive up prices, but drug companies are also hiking prices on older drugs.   

Hernandez's research adds to pharmaceutical industry's growing pressure over high price of drugs

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FOX NEWS - "It's not about innovation, it's about inflation in existing products," explains Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16). "They are the same companies that operate in other countries and they don't show this behavior and that's because in other countries they are lucky to have this regulatory environment that prevents them from doing this."   

Gellad on Memorial Sloan Kettering curbing executives' ties to industry after COI scandals

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NEW YORK TIMES - HPM's Walid Gellad, director of Pitt's Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, calls the policy changes a "watershed moment" and went on to say, "This is highly significant, especially at such a high-profile academic center. Leadership matters, and the institution has decided that their leaders should not also be concurrently leading for-profit health companies."   

Sevco named COO of UPMC Pinnacle

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Congratulations to Mark Sevco (HPM '91) who will be the COO of UPMC Pinnacle in Harrisburg. Sevco was formerly president of UPMC McKeesport in McKeesport, PA and UPMC East in Monroeville, PA.  Read the announcement from Becker's Hospital Review.    

Hernandez's research says prescription drug costs driven by manufacturer price hikes, not innovation

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WESA - The skyrocketing cost of many prescription drugs in the U.S. can be blamed primarily on price increases, not expensive new therapies or improvements in existing medications as drug companies frequently claim, says a new study published in Health Affairs by Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16).   

Christopher Gessner will be the next president and CEO of University of Colorado Hospital

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KDKA RADIO - The University of Colorado Hospital announced Christopher A. Gessner (HPM '91), the current president of UPMC Children's Hospital and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, will be their next president and CEO, overseeing the Anschuntz Medical Campus, Broomfield Hospital, Highlands Ranch Hospital, and other outpatient locations in the Denver area.   

Braund on why Allegheny County physicians need to embrace harm reduction

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ALLEGHENY COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY BULLETIN - In a perspective piece, HPM's Wendy Braund writes "Something has to change, because what we’re currently doing to stop the opioid epidemic clearly isn’t enough. It’s time for physicians in Allegheny County to embrace harm reduction." She mentions Naloxone, syringe service programs, opioid substitution therapies, and safe injection facilities as options to help end the opioid epidemic.   

Gellad on Pfizer's plans to raise drug prices in 2019

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THE FISCAL TIMES - When drug giant Pfizer announced in July that it would roll back price hikes on its drugs, it made clear that the change was temporary. The company said Friday it is planning to raise the list prices on 41 of its drugs effective January 15. “The drug price pledges made earlier this year were just for show—it was obvious at the time, and it's obvious now,” said HPM's Walid Gellad, director of Pitt's Center for Pharmaceutical Po... 

Roberts comments on 'skinny plan' health insurance offered on the ACA individual market

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WESA FM - For the first time since 2013, taxpayers won’t be penalized for not having health insurance. Some people might decide ACA-compliant coverage isn't something they need and instead might select a lower-cost “skinny plan.” HPM's Eric Roberts said it’s important to read the fine print before choosing this type of insurance.  

Mara Hollander shares her research on opioid prescribing and physician relationships with pharmaceutical companies

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APHA  - Mara Hollander (HPM) presented a poster titled Financial Relationships with Pharmaceutical Companies are Related to Increased Opioid Prescribing at APHA's 2018 annual meeting. Hollander matched Medicare Part D claims from Pennsylvania clinicians with 2014 Open Payments data. The final sample included approximately 12,500 PA providers who had at least 50 opioid prescriptions and 10 beneficiaries.  

Alumna, Kathryn Puskar, inducted into international research hall of fame

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THE ALMANAC - Associate dean for undergraduate nursing education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, KATHRYN PUSKAR (BCHS '78, HPM '81) has been inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, one of 20 inductees for this year. “It’s really humbling. I feel very honored to be part of that cohort,” Puskar said.  

Hernandez is one of Forbes 30 under 30 for 2019

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FORBES - Congratulations to INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16) for being selected as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2019. She will be joining the most exclusive club in the world of young entrepreneurs and game-changers. After graduating from Pitt Public Health with her doctorate, Inma has led work with heavyweight drug pricing researchers and quantified the full cost of recently approved CAR T cancer therapies.  

Heather Tomko Wins Disability Service Award

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PITTWIRE - The Dick Thornburgh Forum Disability Service Award goes to HEATHER TOMKO (HPM '19) for service that has made a difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Her work in activism includes taking part in the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Jonas Salk Health Activist Fellowship, blogging on “The Heather Report” and creating the advocacy organization, Accessible YOUniverse.  

Elbeshbishi receives 2018 Ivan and Mary Novick Award for Young Alumni Leadership

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Congratulations to YARA ELBESHBISHI (HPM '16) for receiving the 2018 Ivan and Mary Novick Award for Young Alumni Leadership. This is a highly competitive award that was established by the Novick family to recognize and honor young alumni who have enriched the life of the University of Pittsburgh though their volunteer leadership efforts. The award will be presented at the Alumni Association's 2018 Homecoming Awards Luncheon in October.  

Angus shares the latest on efforts to increase communication in the ICU (AUDIO)

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JAMA NETWORK - What if the patient you are managing in the ICU is not asleep when you thought they were? In this podcast, Derek Angus (BCHS '92), chair of critical care medicine and HPM faculty, shares the latest research on the impact the ICU has on patients and best evidence-guided practices to help clinicians keep the patient at the center of care. "In the ICU there's a whole set of issues that get in the way of good communication."  

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