PFC Spotlight: Faculty Affiliate Ameet Sarpatwari image

The Petrie-Flom Center, January 12, 2017

Ameet Sarpatwari, J.D., Ph.D., is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an Associate Epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Assistant Director of the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) within the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics. His research draws upon his interdisciplinary training as an epidemiologist and lawyer and focuses on the effects of laws and regulations on therapeutic development, approval, use, and related public health outcomes. His numerous contributions to the Petrie-Flom Center's work and mission as Faculty Affiliate are detailed below. 

Where at Harvard do you make your home, and what is your primary research focus?

I help lead the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. I am epidemiologist and lawyer by training, and my research focuses on the effects of laws and regulations on therapeutic development, approval, use, and related public health outcomes. Currently, I am working on projects to better understand the impact of FDA-mandated risk evaluation and mitigation strategies on patients, physicians, and manufacturers and of various drug innovation incentive strategies, such as the Orphan Drug Act, on drug development and costs. I also teach a regular course in Public Health Law at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

How did you first come into contact with the Petrie-Flom Center? When did you start collaborating with the Center?

I first encountered the Petrie-Flom Center at the beginning of my post-doctoral fellowship. I attended a talk on gene patenting featuring Dr. Eric Lander and moderated by Dean Martha Minow. Suffice to say, I was very impressed by the caliber of the Center’s programming—an impression that has been routinely reinforced. At the talk, I had the privilege of meeting Professor Christopher Robertson, a former Petrie-Flom student fellow and then academic fellow and faculty member. We quickly discovered our common research interests, published a law review piece, and delivered a talk together at the Public Health Law Research Program’s Annual Conference.

What kinds of engagement have you had with the Center? How has your involvement evolved over time?

In my first year at Harvard, I attended several Center events like the Annual Health Law Year in P/Review; participated in the 2014 Annual Conference devoted to Behavioral Economics, Law, and Health Policy; and started a monthly literature review of key articles in pharmaceutical law and policy that we publish on the Center’s Bill of Health blog. After I joined the Medical School faculty, I became a Center faculty affiliate, in which role I have moderated a Center book launch on the FDA in the 21st Century and—most enjoyably—started mentoring students on their written work. It has been an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience trying to offer the same quality of guidance that was given me as trainee.

What does your engagement with the Petrie-Flom Center bring to your work?

Engagement with the Center has provided me with a wider audience to share my research, a network of passionate scholars with whom to collaborate, and a venue for interdisciplinary dialogue that is often lacking in academia. The partnerships the Center has forged with PORTAL and the Medical School’s Center for Bioethics, among others, has helped bridge the physical divide between Harvard’s campuses, enabling more impactful scholarship. One example of this success has been the Health Policy and Bioethics Consortium, a monthly series that convenes international experts from different fields or vantage points to discuss how biomedical innovation and health care delivery are affected by ethical norms, laws, and regulations. I am excited about the prospect of greater engagement with the Center in the months and years ahead.

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