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Respiratory News:

Experts debate Trump drug pricing policies

What will Trump’s “favored nation” policy do to drug prices and innovation How will 340B reforms affect the price hospitals charge for drugs Myself and my colleague Jim Baumgardner weigh in with our thoughts in an article in FormularyWatch. “US drug prices will certainly fall. However, prices outside the US will rise,” Jason Shafrin, PhD,…...


Academic Health Economists’ Blog Journal Round-Up

Today I put together the journal round-up for the Academic Health Economists’ blog, one of my favorite reads. I review three papers: Understanding price growth in the market for targeted oncology therapies. American Journal of Managed Care [PubMed] Published 14th June 2019 Do cancer treatments have option value Real-world evidence from metastatic melanoma. Health Economics [PubMed]…...


Why do pharmaceuticals cost so little to manufacture but cost so much?

A typical answer is that the cost of R&D is very high. However, an interesting book by–César Hidalgo titled Why Information Grows–offers a more conceptual rationale. Medicinal pills embody little information, as their active compound is usually a small and relative simple molecule. Yet medicinal pills can be extremely useful and valuable. Why To understand…...


Polio vaccination and mass hysteria

We are getting close to eradicating polio…but we are not there yet. That is why a recent article in this week’s Economist on polio vaccination in Pakistan is so troubling. Worried parents began arriving at hospitals in ones and twos, then dozens and soon hundreds. Each was convinced their child was sick, poisoned by polio…...


Does eliminating vaccination non-medical exemptions improve vaccination rates?

Not surprisingly, the answer is yes, but not by as much as one might guess. In part due to a measles outbreak at Disneyland, California outlawed non-medical exemptions for vaccinations. An NBER working paper by Richwine et al. (2019) provides background on the situation in California prior to enacting the ban. Prior to the policy…...


Survival distributions in R

My former colleague Devin Incerti has a nice summary of how to implement survival function estimation in R. Not only does he mathematically describe the probability density function (PDF), cumulative density function (CDF), and hazard rates for 8 commonly used parametric survival curves [see table below], he also describes how to implement these using the…...


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