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Hussain Lalani

Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School

There are plenty of people studying how America’s drug pricing system is convoluted and broken. Few view the problem as up close and personally as Hussain Lalani.

He regularly sees patients during his fellowship in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s hospital, in addition to his coursework getting his second master’s at Harvard University. He said it bothered him when patients couldn’t afford their medications and needlessly ended up in the emergency room.

“Being a primary care doctor helps me to see the struggle every single day,” Lalani said. “All the barriers to care that they experience to taking their medicines are front and center for me.”

“Being a primary care doctor helps me to see the struggle every single day”

His most recent research paper, which generated quite a buzz, found that Medicare would have saved up to $3.6 billion in 2020 if it had bought some generic drugs at the prices charged by the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company. That wasn’t his first foray into drug pricing policy, as he also served on a drug affordability steering committee with Doctors for America.

Health equity is also at the core of Lalani’s passion for driving change. He’s a first-generation American, and he watched his grandmother go through treatment for chronic lung disease when he was younger. He’s done clinical research into intensive care outcomes in Kenya, and served on the frontlines of safety-net hospitals in Dallas during the Covid-19 pandemic.

When he finishes his fellowship next summer, he’s hoping to blend clinical practice with research and policy research to help ensure people have affordable access to health care.

— Rachel Cohrs