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Pearson Stepping Down as Head of ICER, Emond Taking Over

Article

Sarah K. Emond, M.P.P., will take over as president and CEO of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) next year. Steve Pearson, M.D.,M.Sc., founded the organization, which has become the leading cost-effectiveness assessment organization of pharmaceuticals in the U.S.

Editor's note: This story was updated June 29

Steve Pearson, M.D., M.Sc., founder and president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), is stepping down and being succeeded by Sarah K. Emond, M.P.P., the organization’s executive vice president and longtime chief operating officer, according to press release ICER issued this morning.

Steve Pearson, M.D., M.Sc., founder and president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), is stepping down.

Steve Pearson, M.D., M.Sc., founder and president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), is stepping down.

Pearson and Emond, now identified as president-elect on the ICER website, will work together through the end of this year before Emond becomes president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2024, according to the press release. Pearson will serve as an advisor through the end of 2024. Ellie Adair, M.P.A., the deputy chief operating officer under Emond, has been promoted to chief operating officer.

Under Pearson’s leadership, ICER has become the leading cost-effectiveness assessment organization in the U.S., filling a void left by the lack of any governmental body assessing the value of drugs and their pricing. ICER’s voluminous cost-effectiveness reports and judgments on what the price of drugs should be are widely read, reported on and cited in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, in academic circles and in media reports. Some patient and disability advocates criticizing ICER for relying on measurements — particularly the quality-adjust life year (QALY) — that the groups view as promoting discriminatory policies.

In this mornning's press release, Pearson was quoted as saying that Emond has been his partner in executing the important work at ICER for the past 14 years. “In spirt and skill, there is no one more capable than she to take ICER’s vision forward toward a healthcare system that guarantees affordable and innovative healthcare to every American."

Sarah K. Emond, M.P.P., the ICER's longtime chief operating officer, is president-elected and will become president and CEO in 2024.

Sarah K. Emond, M.P.P., the ICER's longtime chief operating officer, is president-elected and will become president and CEO in 2024.

In an interview yesterday, Emond said not to expect dramatic changes at ICER considering that she has been in leadership role at the organization for 14 years and has had a close working relationship with Pearson. "I think you can expect more of the same, which is a commitment to bringing transparency into converssations about pricing and access and using evidende to facilitate conversations about how we balance thoes priorities and pay for value."

Emond said Pearson has been thinking ahead to stepping down and planning a transition for a number of years, a process that also involved the ICER board. "They went through a process of talking about timing and priorities — and who — and I was honored that I was the who," she said.

Emond said that ICER was going to continue to promote its ICER Analytics platform, noting that the AHIP, the health insurance industry trade group, had renewed its subscription, which means the members get acccess to the platform as part of their membership. "We will continue to talk to other prospective users because we think it's a bit of a Rosetta Stone, a place whre we can have that honest conversation about getting the price and access right."

Emond said CMS has not asked for anyting concerning the upcoming Medicare drug price negotiations price and the announcement scheduled for Sept. 1 about the first 10 drugs. "We're experts in how to use evidence to inform value-based pricing. If that expertise is going to be helpful to CMS, we want to be ready and available for that. But there are no formal plans right now."

Emond started working for ICER in 2009 as its chief operating officer and was its third employee, according to the press release. Her LinkedIn profile says that prior to ICER she was principal at SKE Communications for a little over a year and a manager in corporate communications for Oscient Communications for six years before that.

Emond earned her masters of public policy degree from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management and graduated from Smith College In 1999, majoring in biology.

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