Regis J. Fallon Lecture Series

The Regis J. Fallon Lecture Series on Health and Law focuses attention on the leading issues at the intersection of health and the law, fueling productive discussion across these disciplines and attracting scholars and experts from the University and beyond. The Fallon Lectures are held once or twice each academic year. For more information, contact faculty organizer Anup Malani at

Upcoming Lectures

April 25, 2019
“The Orphan Drug Act  at 35: Opportunities for the 21st Century.”
Amitabh Chandra, PhD
Ethel Zimmerman Wiener Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Henry and Allison McCance Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
3:30-5:00 pm
Harris Room 140B

achandr_LThumb.jpg On the 35th anniversary of the adoption of the Orphan Drug Act (ODA), we describe  the enormous changes in the markets for therapies for rare diseases that have  emerged over recent decades. The most prominent example is the fact that the profit-  maximizing price of new orphan drugs appears to be greater today than it was in 1983.  All else equal, this should reduce the threshold for R&D investment in an economically  viable product. Further, the small size of patient populations for orphan drugs,  together with the increasing prevalence of biologics among orphan drugs, have  created a set of natural monopoly-like markets in which firms face little competition,  even after the end of formal periods of patent protection and market exclusivity.  Additionally, the evolving technologies of drug development—in particular, the  increasingly common use of auxiliary endpoints in clinical trials and the use of  biomarkers for patient selection for treatment—now allow manufacturers to target  smaller populations. Taken together, these changes raise doubts about whether the ODA encourages the development of products that otherwise would not have been brought to market—or whether, instead, it simply rewards the producers of inframarginal products. After presenting empirical support for our claims of an evolving marketplace, we discuss the tradeoffs associated with reshaping the ODA for the 21st century.

Amitabh Chandra, PhD, is the Ethel Zimmerman Wiener Professor of Public Policy and Director of Health Policy Research at Harvard Univerisity’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He teaches undergraduates in Harvard College, graduate students at the  Kennedy School and  Business School, and in Harvard’s Executive Education programs.

Professor Chandra is a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Panel of Health Advisors, and is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). His research focuses on innovation and cost-growth in healthcare, medical malpractice, and racial disparities in healthcare. His research has been supported by the National Institute of Aging, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and has been published in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Health Affairs. He is the Chair Editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics.

Chandra has testified to the United States Senate and the United States Commission on Civil Rights. His research has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Newsweek, and on National Public Radio. He has been a consultant to the RAND Corporation, Microsoft Research, the Institute of Medicine and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts. In 2011 he served as Massachusetts’ Special Commissioner on Provider Price Reform.

Professor Chandra is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the first-prize recipient of the Upjohn Institute’s Dissertation Award, the Kenneth Arrow Award for best paper in health economics, and the Eugene Garfield Award for the impact of medical research. In 2012, he was awarded American Society of Health Economists (ASHE) medal. The ASHE medal is awarded biennially to the economist age 40 or under who has made the most significant contributions to the field of health economics.

Past Lectures

May 10, 2018 
“Antitrust Enforcement in Health Care Markets—What is Happening, and What Isn’t?”
Leemore S. Dafny, PhD
Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

April 28, 2016
“Technology Regulation Reconsidered: The Effects of Certificate of Need on MRI Access, Quality, and Cost”
3:30-5:00 pm in Room V
1111 East 60th Street
Jill Horwitz, JD, PhD
Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles

January 12, 2015
4:00-5:15 pm in P-117
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
Daniel Carpenter, PhD
Professor of Government; Director, Center for American Political Studies; Director, Social Sciences Program, Harvard University

November 13, 2013
“Three Principles of Real Health Reform”
Daniel P. Kessler, JD, PhD
Professor, Stanford Law School

May 2, 2013
“Medical Liability Reform and Accountability for Safe Care: Looking Back, Looking Forward”
Michelle Mello, JD, PhD
Professor of Law and Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health

October 12, 2012
“The Future of Health Care Reform in the United States”
A conference coordinated by the University of Chicago Law School and Department of Medicine and Biological Sciences, supported in part by the Fallon Lecture endowment.

May 14, 2012
“Non-Consensual Access to Data for Research and Public Health”
Barbara Evans, JD, PhD
Professor of Law, University of HoustonCo-Director, Health Law & Policy InstituteDirector, Center on Biotechnology & Law

February 27, 2012
“Legal Solutions for Ensuring Decision Aid Quality”
Nadia Sawicki, JD
Assistant Professor of Law, Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law

May 9, 2011
“The Histories of American Health Insurance: Three Narratives and the Affordable Care Act”
Timothy S. Jost, JD
Robert L. Willet Family Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law

February 28, 2011
“The Impact of Health Reform on Physicians and Hospitals”
Lawrence E. Singer, MA, JD
Director, Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy, Loyola University Chicago

May 26, 2010
“How Not to Do Medical Malpractice Reform”
David A. Hyman, BA, JD, MD
Richard W. and Marie L. Corman Professor, University of Illinois College of Law

“From Evidence to Practice:  Can Coverage and Payment Policy Change Physician Behavior?”
Susan Foote 
Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

January 22, 2009
“Discussing End-of-Life Options: Are Statues the Solution?”
Alan Meisel
Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics, and Professor of Law and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh

April 24, 2008
“Fairness in Health Care:  Who Pays?  Who Benefits?”
Clark Havighurst
William Neal Reynolds Professor Emeritus of Law

January 17, 2008
“The Abortion Wars and the Gonzales vs. Carhart Decision”
Bruce Patsner, MD, JD
Professor at the Health Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center

April 19, 2007
“The Food and Drug Administration: How Safe? How Effective?”
David Kessler, MD, JD
Dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor for Medical Affairs
Richard Epstein, LLD, HC
James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago

January 25, 2007
“The Law and Ethics of Medical Fees: A Brief Historical View”
Mark A. Hall, JD
Fred D. and Elizabeth L. Turnage Professor of Law at Wake Forest University

May 2, 2006
“Clinical Trials, Drug Marketing, Off-Label Prescribing, and the Law”
Sandra H. Johnson, JD, LLM
Tenet Endowed Chair in Health Law and Ethics in the Center for Health Law Studies at Saint Louis University School of Law


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