Executive Access: Healthcare Innovation

Developed in response to intense client demand, our Executive Access series of short programs provides you with immediate, actionable insights in an accessible format. The next program in the series is Healthcare Innovation: The Economics of Successful Product Launches taught by Frank Lichtenberg, Cain Brothers & Company Professor of Healthcare Management at Columbia Business School.

Healthcare Innovation: The Economics of Successful Product Launches

Date: July 29, 2021
Time: 12–3 p.m. ET
Fee: $450
Format: 3 hours, live online

This program earns 1/2 a certificate credit. Learn more.
Participants of our Executive Access series also receive a $450 credit towards any future multi-day executive education program.

Program Overview

When it comes to healthcare innovation, the mere demonstration of a product's safety, efficacy, and quality — the first three hurdles — is no longer sufficient. To gain market access and reimbursement for a pharmaceutical, medical technology, or biotech product, there is a fourth hurdle to overcome: cost-effectiveness.

In this program, executives will receive an introduction to health technology assessment, exploring key considerations that creators, investors, financial analysts, and healthcare workers should reflect on in order to measure the benefits and success of emerging technology. In addition to analyzing the economics of healthcare innovation, you’ll explore a case study of a major innovation: a new vaccine.

Learning Outcomes

✓ Understand the distinction between clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness

✓ Survey different approaches to measuring longevity (the “quantity of life”), quality of life, and the value of a statistical life-year (the “price of life”)

✓ See how to calculate the incremental benefit (in $) of a new product by combining estimates of its impact on longevity and on quality of life and estimates of the value of a statistical life-year

✓ Learn how to calculate the true incremental cost of a new product, by distinguishing between its gross and net price and between its direct cost and indirect cost or savings

✓ Apply these methods to case studies of important medical innovations: a new vaccine and new cancer drugs


1. Introduction to Health Technology Assessment

  • Clinical effectiveness vs. cost-effectiveness
  • Incremental benefit (in $) vs. incremental cost

2. Elements of Incremental Benefit

  • Life expectancy (“quantity of life”)
  • Quality of life
  • Value of a quality-adjusted life-year (“price of life”)

3. Elements of Incremental Cost

  • Direct cost (gross vs. net)
  • Indirect costs or savings (“cost offsets”)

4. Cost-Effectiveness vs. Profitability

5. Case Study: Merck’s Gardasil Vaccine

6. How Cost-Effective Are New Cancer Drugs in the US?


» Download the program schedule here.


Frank Lichtenberg
Cain Brothers & Company Professor of Healthcare Management, Columbia Business School
Research Associate, The National Bureau of Economic Research

Frank Lichtenberg is a recognized thought leader in the field of pharmaceutical innovation and its impact on longevity. His research has examined how the introduction of new technology arising from research and development affects the productivity of companies, industries, and nations. He has served as an expert for the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and state Attorneys General, and has testified before Congress. Lichtenberg previously taught at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Ecole Polytechnique.


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