National Pharmaceutical Council and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy Announce New Health Policy Fellow

For Immediate Release

Andrea Hofelich,, 202-827-2078 (NPC)
Ellen de Graffenreid,, 919-308-3944 (Duke-Margolis)

(July 19, 2018, Washington, DC)—The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) and Duke University's Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy today announced that Taruja Karmarkar, PhD, has been named the 2018-20 post-doctoral health policy fellow.

The two-year fellowship position, based in Washington, D.C., is designed to bridge a persistent gap between health research and policy analysis. “Stakeholders across the health system are asking pressing questions on how effectively we are spending our health care dollars and what we are getting in return,” said NPC Chief Science Officer and Executive Vice President Robert W. Dubois, MD, PhD. “This fellowship is a natural extension of NPC’s mission to foster the high-quality research and analysis decision-makers need to drive value in health care and best outcomes for patients.”

Dr. Karmarkar recently earned her doctorate in health economics and policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also holds a Master of Health Science in health economics from Johns Hopkins and a bachelor’s degree in economics from New York University. Throughout her doctoral studies, she has worked with an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students to focus on specialty drug prices and the potential impact of policy proposals, through a behavioral economics framework. Her doctoral dissertation took a data-driven approach to explore the value of new Hepatitis C treatments in the context of public health, health care costs and patient access.

Dr. Karmarkar will be mentored by Dr. Dubois and Jennifer Graff, PharmD, Vice President Comparative Effectiveness Research at NPC and Gillian Sanders, PhD, Deputy Director, Academics, Duke-Margolis, and Professor of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine, and Gregory Daniel, PhD, MPH, RPh, Deputy Director, Policy, Duke-Margolis, and Clinical Professor, Fuqua School of Business. “We were deeply impressed with the caliber of all applicants for this year’s fellowship, but Dr. Karmarkar’s nuanced understanding of health economics made her qualifications stand out,” said Dr. Daniel. “Each day, regulators, lawmakers, providers, insurers and other stakeholders grapple with difficult decisions that can impact patient access to treatments. Dr. Karmarkar’s experience and academic study couldn’t be more relevant to today’s national discussion on health spending, prices and access to care.”  

The Duke Margolis-NPC Post-Doctoral Health Policy Fellowship is designed for early career researchers to explore the policy implications of health services research and to learn how to design studies to inform U.S. health care policy. As a Fellow, Dr. Karmarkar will have access to researchers and policy experts from Duke and from NPC and will gain hands-on policy research experience, with opportunities to interact with a diverse set of stakeholders.

“I was drawn to this fellowship because over my years of academic study, I’ve seen the multitude of ways that health policy can impact the health care people receive,” said Dr. Karmarkar. “Innovation in new treatment options is critical, but it’s just as important to conduct good research and apply innovating thinking to how we deliver and pay for care. I’m so pleased to contribute to the important research being led by NPC and Duke-Margolis.”  

About the National Pharmaceutical Council
The National Pharmaceutical Council is a health policy research organization dedicated to the advancement of good evidence and science, and to fostering an environment in the United States that supports medical innovation. Founded in 1953 and supported by the nation’s major research-based pharmaceutical companies, NPC focuses on research development, information dissemination, and education on the critical issues of evidence, innovation and the value of medicines for patients. For more information, visit and follow NPC on Twitter @npcnow.

About the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
The Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy at Duke University is directed by Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, and brings together expertise from the Washington, DC, policy community, Duke University, and Duke Health to address the most pressing issues in health policy. The Center’s mission is to improve health and the value of health care by developing and implementing evidence-based policy solutions locally, nationally, and globally. For more information, visit