James C. Robinson receives research grant to analyze price markups of infused drugs

The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation has awarded James C. Robinson, a Berkeley Public Health professor of health economics, a $50,000 research grant for 2024.

Robinson, who is the Leonard D. Schaeffer Endowed Chair, Health Economics and Policy and director of the Berkeley Center for Health Technology, will use the funding to continue his analyses of prices and utilization for complex infused drugs and biologics used to treat cancer, auto-immune disease and other complex conditions.

“Deeper insight into the economics of these innovative medications is essential to help the nation better balance the competing needs for affordability and access, on the one hand, and R&D investment and innovation, on the other,” Robinson said.

Robinson was lead author of a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on January 25, 2024, which found that a large share of insurer payments for drugs, which are intended to support further research and development, are instead siphoned off by hospitals for their own use.

His new study will quantify 2020–23 trends in price markups and profit margins earned by hospitals and physician practices from 80 infused drugs, biologics and biosimilars. The study will cover 600,000 patients and 6 million infusion visits over the four-year period.

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