Addressing High Drug Pricing

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About the Forum

On April 6, Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Policy hosted a forum, Addressing High Drug Pricing, which brought together experts from a variety of backgrounds to share knowledge, spark discussion, and advance collective thinking and approaches to address high drug prices.

The forum took place at Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Total Health in Washington, D.C. and attracted more than 100 leaders from across sectors to discuss the causes and impacts of high drug pricing and explore viable solutions to champion change.

Forum Materials: About the Institute for Health Policy | Drug Pricing 101: Pay-for-Delay | Public Demand for Lower Drug Prices

Featured Speakers

The forum brought together organizational leaders, industry experts, clinicians, policymakers, academics and advocates who shared their unique perspectives throughout the day.

Lauren Aronson

Lauren Aronson

Lauren is a health policy expert at Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas and the executive director of the Campaign for Sustainable Drug Pricing, a coalition of leaders promoting bipartisan, market-based solutions to lower drug prices in America.

Prior to this, she directed the Office of Legislation at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and led the agency’s interactions with Capitol Hill. She also served as a professional staff member for the House Ways and Means Committee and served under President Obama as the policy director in the Office of Health Reform.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.

Sameer Awsare

Sameer Awsare, MD

Sameer is an associate executive director for The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG), where he oversees pharmacy, adult and family medicine, and opioid initiatives, among other operations. In addition to his clinical responsibilities, he is involved in resident teaching and serves as secretary and chair of the governance committee of the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group Board. Previously, he served as chair of the hospital ethics committee, chief of medicine at TPMG’s Campbell medical facilities and held several roles on the TPMG Board of Directors.

Sameer is a board certified in internal medicine and holds a medical degree from the University of California, Irvine.

Peter B. Bach

Peter B. Bach, MD, MAPP

Peter is the director of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Center for Health Policy and Outcomes. Through the Drug Pricing Lab, he and his team educate policymakers, healthcare professionals, industry officials, and patients on drug development and pricing.

He served as a senior advisor to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2005 and 2006, and chair of the CMS expert panel that developed quality measures for cancer hospitals. He is currently the vice chair of the CMS Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC).

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a medical degree from the University of Minnesota and a mater of applied positive psychology from the University of Chicago.

Anthony Barrueta

Tony is senior vice president of government relations for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. in Oakland, California. He oversees development of Kaiser Permanente’s public policy positions, in collaboration with senior leadership throughout the organization, to ensure that Kaiser Permanente maintains a common voice in support of the interests of the organization, its members, and the communities it serves.

Tony holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Boston College and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Elisa Choi

Elisa Choi, MD

Elisa is faculty at Harvard Medical School and a fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the largest physician specialty organization in the country. She is the current governor-elect, and will be the next governor of the Massachusetts ACP Chapter, in addition to co-chair emeritus of the chapter’s health and public policy committee.

She holds a medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences) and completed her post-doctoral training at Beth Israel Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Rena M. Conti, PhD

Rena M. Conti, PhD

Rena M. Conti is an associate professor at the University of Chicago’s departments of pediatrics and public health sciences.  She is a health economist whose research focuses on the organization, financing, and regulation of new medical technology. 

Maisha Draves

Maisha Draves, MD, MPH

Maisha Draves is the medical director for Pharmacy in Northern California (NCAL) for The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG) where she collaborates with the Chair of the Regional Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee on formulary and pharmacy policy and with the Drug Information Services group on the strategies related to drug shortages and recalls.  She provides oversight for pharmacy-related research and develops strategies/agenda for NCAL drug utilization management efforts.  She engages the participation of TPMG clinical and thought leads in efforts around appropriate drug use.  In addition, Maisha partners with Chiefs Groups regarding status of drug initiatives and is the physician partner for shared leadership between TPMG, regional pharmacy, and nursing.

Amy Gutierrez

Amy Gutierrez, PharmD

Amy is the vice president and chief pharmacy officer at Kaiser Permanente where she provides leadership and direction for clinical and pharmacy operations.

Amy joined Kaiser Permanente after a 32-year career with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, serving as chief pharmacy officer and the hospital pharmacy director for the Los Angeles County LAC+USC Medical Center. she is also the president of the California Board of Pharmacy.

She holds a doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Southern California.

Jane Horvath

Jane Horvath

Jane Horvath is a senior policy fellow at the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), where she works with the emerging issues ream and leads efforts to foster state initiatives on drug prices.

Prior to NASHP, Jane worked as a consultant to life sciences foundations and advocacy organizations and held research positions at Johns Hopkins University and Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). Jane also spent ten years at Merck working on coverage and reimbursement policies in federal programs. She has worked for Medicaid Directors, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, and was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation (Health) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dora Hughes

Dora Hughes, MD, MPH

Dora is a senior health policy advisor in Sidley Austin’s government strategies practice, providing strategic advice on coverage, health care quality and innovation, and payment policy and reimbursement. She counsels clients on policy issues related to regulatory and approval processes for medical products, health information technology and data analytics, and population health.

Dora served as counselor to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for nearly four years. Prior to this, she staffed Senator Edward Kennedy as deputy director for the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions and former Senator Barack Obama as health policy advisor.

She holds a medical degree from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University.

Mark McClellan

Mark McClellan, MD, PhD

Mark McClellan is the Robert J. Margolis Professor of Business, Medicine, and Policy, and Director of the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University. He is a physician-economist who focuses on quality and value in health care including payment reform, real-world evidence and more effective drug and device innovation.

He is a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a faculty member at Stanford University.

David Mitchell

David Mitchell

David is the founder and president of Patients for Affordable Drugs. He has an incurable blood cancer called multiple myeloma. The price of his current drugs is $450,000 per year. Like millions of others, David needs innovation and new drugs for his survival, but he believes drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them.

After more than 30 years at a D.C. policy communications firm, he retired in December 2016 to devote his full energy to helping change policy to lower prescription drug prices.

Fiona Scott Morton

Fiona Scott Morton, PhD

Fiona is a professor of economics at the Yale University School of Management where she has been on the faculty since 1999. Her area of academic research is empirical industrial organization with a focus on empirical studies of competition in areas such as pricing, entry, and product differentiation. From 2011-12 Fiona served as the deputy assistant attorney general for economics at the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she helped enforce the nation’s antitrust laws.

She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Yale and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Stephen Parodi
Stephen Parodi, MD

Stephen serves an associate executive director for The Permanente Medical Group with responsibility for hospital operations, inpatient quality, patient safety, care of complex and special needs populations, skilled nursing facilities, home health, hospice, and external communications. He is also executive vice president for The Permanente Federation with duties that include external affairs, government relations, communications, and brand. Additionally, he serves as a liaison for Kaiser Permanente’s engagement in local and international healthcare delivery initiatives.

Stephen holds a medical degree from Georgetown University and completed his internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and infectious disease fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles Affiliated Program in Infectious Disease.


Steve Pearson

Steve D. Pearson, MD, MSc

Steve is the founder and president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), an independent non-profit organization that evaluates the evidence on the value of medical tests, treatments, and delivery system innovations to encourage collaborative efforts to improve patient care and control costs. Prominent among its evidence reports are ICER reviews of new drugs that include full assessments of clinical and cost-effectiveness along with suggested “value-based price benchmarks” to inform policymakers and guide price and coverage negotiation.

Steve is a lecturer in the department of population medicine at Harvard Medical School and also serves as visiting scientist in the department of bioethics at the National Institutes of Health.  


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