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The second topic in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Health Care Forum Series, “The Specialty Drug War: Cost vs. Cure,” features two events: one Oct. 13 in Pittsburgh at the Heinz History Center and another Oct. 28 in Harrisburg at the State Museum of Pennsylvania Auditorium in the State Capitol Complex. Both sessions run from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh Panel, October 13

Matthew S. Davids, MD
Cancer researcher and physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Research focuses on clinical trials of new drugs in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Also an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and treats patients with CLL, Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Walid F. Gellad, MD, MPH
Physician and professor who leads the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, with research focus on drug prescribing practices, pharmaceutical policy and medication adherence. Studying the role of formulary management within the Veterans Administration (VA) in affecting high-cost drug use, as well as the role of physician networks in the adoption of new prescription drugs.

Kristin Gourlay
Covers health care for Rhode Island Public Radio, where a recent series focused on the rising threat of hepatitis C and high drug prices. Has received multiple national, regional and local awards for reporting. Earned a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Vinay Prasad, MD
Hematologist-oncologist and professor at Oregon Health & Science University who studies the cost of cancer drugs based on innovation, novelty or benefit. As Chief Fellow of Medical Oncology for the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health, co-authored 2013 Mayo Clinic Proceedings article “A Decade of Reversal: An Analysis of 146 Contradicted Medical Practices.

Randy Burkholder
Vice President of Policy and Research at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Leads PhRMA work on policy solutions related to innovation, research, and payment reform. Represents PhRMA at federal agencies and advisory bodies.

Harrisburg Panel, October 28

Thomas Petzinger Jr.
Executive vice president of Knopp Biosciences and founder of LaunchCyte, a life sciences incubator that co-founded Knopp and is noted for drug discovery, pivotal clinical studies and new drug approvals. Also a director of several other pharmaceutical companies and of Pittsburgh radio station WESA 90.5 FM. Spent 22 years at The Wall Street Journal and has written three business books.

Raymond Hohl, MD, PhD
Director of Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute and professor in the departments of medicine and pharmacology, with research focus on discovery and development of novel anti-cancer therapies. Research has earned grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, American Institute for Cancer Research, and others. Also co-founder and president of Terpenoid Therapeutics. Has held leadership roles in the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and other professional groups.

Jack Hoadley, PhD
Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Research at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, with research focus on health financing topics, including Medicare and Medicaid, and particularly prescription drug issues. Recent projects include Medicare Part D drug benefit spending trends, the use of formularies, the impact of plan benefit design on generic drug use, and policy options for simplifying and standardizing the program. Has also held positions in the Department of Health and Human Services, MedPAC, and the National Health Policy Forum.

Walid F. Gellad, MD
See bio in Pittsburgh panel above.