Newswise — The PhRMA Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2021 Value Assessment Research Awards. A total of $300,000 was awarded to three teams whose proposals put forward new, innovative strategies for assessing the value of medicines and health care services.

“We are once again honored to present the PhRMA Foundation’s Research Awards to a talented group of researchers who are making important contributions to the field of value assessment,” said Eileen Cannon, President of the PhRMA Foundation. “Each of this year’s winners are working to broaden the current discourse surrounding health care value by defining and measuring value in new ways that more accurately reflect patient perspectives and better represent diverse communities.” 

This year’s winners will each receive one-year grants of $100,000:

  • Diana Brixner, PhD, The University of Utah
  • Surachat Ngorsuraches, PhD, Auburn University, Harrison School of Pharmacy
  • Natalia Olchanski, PhD, Tufts Medical Center

The PhRMA Foundation’s Value Assessment Initiative (VAI) promotes the development of advanced value assessment frameworks and methodologies that are rigorous, transparent, and address the needs of all health care stakeholders, including patients, payers and providers. The initiative seeks to prioritize patient centricity and health equity as key pillars of the value assessment framework development process. Launched in 2017, it includes the Foundation’s annual Research Awards, Challenge Awards and funding for the establishment of four national Centers of Excellence in Value Assessment. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $4.3 million to support a variety of research projects on value assessment.

Dr. Brixner’s research aims to estimate patient preferences and willingness-to-pay for a select group of high and low-value medications in an effort to inform the development of value-based formulary (VBF) designs. Her team will conduct a discrete choice experiment (DCE) with 400 patients with type 2 diabetes from the University of Utah Health Plans, using a literature review and focus group to identify which attributes of medications are necessary to include in the DCE. Dr. Brixner’s team will then assign a monetary value to patient’s willingness-to-pay for each of the select medications and compare it to their current cost-sharing status and pre-determined value by the University of Utah Health Plans.

Dr. Ngorsuraches seeks to obtain a quantitative measure COVID-19 fear of contagion that can be factored into value assessments of vaccines and therapies that treat this and other diseases. His team plans to conduct a discrete choice experiment (DCE) to elicit the willingness-to-pay among a sample of 500 adults with and without COVID-19 infection and use the results to determine the relative importance between all study attributes and costs.

Dr. Olchanski aims to use real-world data to estimate the value of diabetes prevention programs (DPP). Her team will use data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to characterize the diabetes risk of individuals referred to or actually receiving DPP care. They will then use individual-level simulation modeling to estimate the individual and population level value of DPP and compare these distributions between the DPP clinical trial population and the real-world population to assess the impact of using real world data on value assessment for DPP.

2022 Research Award Application is Now Open – Apply Before July 15, 2021

The Foundation is proud to announce that the application process for the 2022 Value Assessment Research Awards is now open. Award opportunities are open to all individuals and organizations with specialization in health economics, outcomes research, clinical sciences, health care evaluation or related disciplines. Eligible applicants should hold an advanced degree in a field of study logically or functionally related to the proposed activities, such as a PhD or equivalent. Interdisciplinary collaboration is highly encouraged. At least one collaborator must also have a firm commitment from an accredited U.S. university or research organization.

The PhRMA Foundation wants to broaden our reach to expand the efforts in this focus area of using new approaches to capture and assess what is important to patients. The Value Assessment Initiative encourages new researchers to apply for funding. Researchers and collaborators who have received a Value Assessment award or project funding from the PhRMA Foundation in 2020 or 2021 are not eligible to apply.

For more information about how to apply, please read the PhRMA Foundation’s Research Award brochure. Letters of intent are due by July 15, 2021.


About the PhRMA Foundation

The mission of the PhRMA Foundation is to improve public heath by proactively investing in innovative research, education and value-driven health care. For 56 years, the Foundation has been helping advance scientific research and innovation to benefit patients. Since its founding in 1965, it has distributed more than $100 million to support these efforts. The PhRMA Foundation accomplishes its mission by investing in three key areas: core programming, value assessment initiative and a new program under development in the use and application of Technology and Data in Health Care. The PhRMA Foundation’s core programs of Drug Delivery, Drug Discovery, Health Outcomes Research and Translational Medicine encourage young scientists to pursue research as their career choice and assists in training the next generation of innovators.  The PhRMA Foundation's emphasis on evidence-based research that determines the true value of medicines is supported by its Value Assessment Initiative. To learn more, please visit