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Economist honored for study on impact of new cancer drugs on life expectancy

WASHINGTONDecember 2, 2010The 2010 Garfield Economic Impact Award was presented today to Frank R. Lichtenberg, PhD, of Columbia Business School. Research!America has presented this award since 2002, to recognize the outstanding work of economists who demonstrate how medical and health research impacts the economy. The award is supported by a grant from Merck & Co., Inc., and by the Eugene Garfield Foundation.

The 2010 award recognizes a study by Lichtenberg, published in the journal Economics of Innovation and New Technology. The study shows that new cancer drugs from 1968 to 2004 increased the life expectancy of American cancer patients by almost one year and that the cost of this additional year is less than $7,000 per patient, much lower than previous estimates of what Americans are willing to pay for an additional year of life.

"Greater life expectancy is the most important benefit that patients, and scientists, want to obtain from a new drug for cancer," said Lichtenberg. "That benefit, net of the drug's cost, represents the real value of cancer drug research investment."

Research!America's chair, former Congressman John Edward Porter (R-IL), said, "I congratulate Professor Lichtenberg on his outstanding work. He, like previous Garfield recipients, is building a base of evidence about the economic value of medical research and helping to measure the nation's return on our investment in medical and health research."

The 2010 Garfield Award was presented at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, by Porter and Eugene Garfield, PhD, founding editor and president of The Scientist, and founding benefactor of the award. The ceremony was followed by a panel discussion featuring Lichtenberg; John Seffrin, PhD, CEO of the American Cancer Society; and former Garfield recipient Sherry Glied, PhD, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. David Leonhardt, "Economic Scene" columnist for The New York Times, moderated the discussion. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) was the honorary congressional host.

Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, said, "We are pleased to honor Professor Lichtenberg, an exemplary economist whose pioneering work is advancing the field of economics and the understanding of the impact of medical research on the economy. I encourage other economists to follow his example and explore this very important but under-developed field."

About the 2010 Recipient

Lichtenberg is the Courtney C. Brown Professor of Business at Columbia Business School, Columbia University. His research has examined how the introduction of new technology arising from research and development affects the productivity of companies, industries and nations. He previously taught at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania and has worked for U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Justice and Congressional Budget Office. His articles have been published in numerous scholarly journals and general news outlets.


Contact: Eva Maciejewski

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