IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The winner of the 2020 Sternfels Prize for Drug Safety Discoveries has been announced, according to contest officials. Tobias Gerhard, Ph.D. was awarded the annual prize of $35,000 for his proposal, "Novel Approach to Examine Within-Class Therapeutic Exchangeability of Medications." Dr. Gerhard is the Director of the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science (PETS) and Associate Professor at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University.
Dr. Gerhard is the fourth winner of the prestigious prize, joining an elite group of previous winners. When asked about his research, Dr. Gerhard explained, "The problem is that most treatment guidelines and insurance formularies consider drugs within medication classes as equally safe and effective, despite having limited evidence. The goal here is to analyze data that is already out there in a new way, so we can compare drug outcomes without performing a clinical trial."
According to one of the judges, Dr. Dan Roden, "Dr. Gerhard's proposal really stood out to us for its innovative methodology. This unique approach, if successful, can be a game changer in how we decide to prescribe medications within a given class." Dr. Roden is the Sam L. Clark, M.D., Ph.D. Endowed Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Biomedical Informatics, and the Senior Vice President for Personalized Medicine at Vanderbilt.
The Sternfels Prize was created to incentivize scientists of all types to think about ways to minimize the risks of side effects patients face when taking prescription drugs. The cash prize is awarded annually to the most novel, clinically relevant, and testable idea to reduce life-threatening drug-related adverse events.
Sundar Srinivasan, Chief Executive Officer of Emerald Lake Safety (ELS), which was the 2020 underwriter of the award, said, "Dr. Gerhard's proposal is in lockstep with the Sternfels' mission. His project may answer questions that are difficult to ask clinically - the potential benefit and number of lives positively impacted could be very large. Bravo!"
SOURCE The Sternfels Prize for Drug Safety Discoveries