May 23, 2012
On May 22, at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal, Gabriel Tremblay (MSc 2011, Applied Economics option) received the award for the best master’s thesis from the Research Institute on Contemporary Economics (IRÉC). The distinction for Gabriel, now working as Principal Health Economist for Adelphi Values, in Boston, came with a cash prize of $5,000.
Gabriel’s thesis, co-directed by Professors Robert Clark and Pierre Thomas Léger, evaluated the impact of Bill 102* on the use of brand-name drugs as compared with generic products. To clearly show the impact, Gabriel analyzed the interaction of economic agents (patients and doctors), filling a gap left by other articles on the same subject, i.e. the lack of evidence or consistent theoretical models. In his thesis he also compared the situations in Ontario and Quebec, using a large number of drugs (over 1,000 in each province), an exceptional sample as compared with similar studies. His results confirmed his initial hypothesis that the bill led to an increase in the proportion of generic and innovative products, to the detriment of brand-name drugs.
The Institute is an independent non-profit organization devoted to research and promoting skills in the field of economics. Since 1999, it has been presenting awards for the best doctoral dissertation and the best master’s thesis submitted. Two commendations for praiseworthy work are also awarded (two for theses and two for dissertations). All in all, the Institute awards $25,000 in cash prizes to reward the authors of the top papers submitted for inclusion in its electronic directory of publications, one of the largest in the economics field in the French-speaking world. The directory covers themes, schools of thought, scientific trends and other topics, and the award winners are chosen to reflect this diversity, so as to enrich the field with contributions to thinking and the advancement of knowledge.
Every year the IRÉC Board of Directors chooses a jury of five scientists from the academic community, recognized for their skills and their work in the economics field. The jury evaluates submissions mainly on the basis of the originality of the research topic, the pertinence of the methodology, the quality and understanding of the theoretical framework, the contribution to knowledge and, finally, how closely each submission ties in with the Institute’s mission and fields of interest.
*Bill 102, also known as the Transparent Drug System for Patients Act, has been in effect since 2006 in Ontario. It has five main objectives: to improve access to drugs for the sickest patients who really need them, increase value for money by negotiating prices, promote the appropriate use of drugs, improve the transparency of the public insurer, and foster innovation.