The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has been studying how to improve healthcare and lower costs, partnering with experts to analyze every layer of the U.S. healthcare system. That initial review led to investments in several areas, including initiatives that expand access to pharmaceutical drugs and increase the quality and transparency of clinical trials. Recently, the foundation committed $8.6 million to Brigham and Women’s Hospital to support scientists working to address these issues.
“The research community can provide a valuable service to society by helping patients and physicians make the right medical decisions and by developing policies that affect the care and treatment Americans receive,” says Mark E. Miller, PhD, the foundation’s vice president of healthcare. “We want to support researchers and scientists in their efforts to examine these issues.”
Two of the foundation’s grants have been awarded to the hospital’s Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, including $5.3 million for the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL), led by Aaron Kesselheim, MD, JD, MPH.
“The support we’ve received from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation is a tremendous vote of confidence in our work to understand the forces that shape drug innovation,” says Kesselheim, whose PORTAL program brings together experts in epidemiology, law, business, ethics, and public health. “For example,” he says, “we’re interested in how economic incentives, like the promise of market exclusivity, influence the emergence of important therapies and their effects on drug affordability.”
“The support we’ve received from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation is a tremendous vote of confidence in our work to understand the forces that shape drug innovation.”— Aaron Kesselheim MD, JD, MPH
The foundation also committed $2 million to support Kesselheim’s colleagues, Shirley Wang, PhD, ScM, and Sebastian Schneeweiss, MD, ScD, who have launched an initiative to analyze hundreds of big healthcare data studies and identify steps for scientists to make research more reproducible.
“A major challenge in medical research is the volume of published evidence that cannot be replicated by other scientists,” says Wang. “This grant will help us ensure that drug policies and treatment recommendations are supported by robust clinical research evidence.”
By supporting efforts like these, Miller notes, the foundation aims to increase value in healthcare—part of its broader effort to improve people’s lives by strengthening the nation’s social, governmental, and economic systems.