Press Releases / May 09, 2018

Winners Named in 24th Annual NIHCM Research and Journalism Awards

Washington, D.C. – May 9, 2018 - NIHCM Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of this year's NIHCM Awards. Established in 1993, the NIHCM Awards recognize the talented journalists and researchers who serve as catalysts for positive change by informing policy making and public discourse. NIHCM's President and CEO, Nancy Chockley, explains, "NIHCM's mission is to transform health care through evidence and collaboration. Through our awards, we recognize the tremendous contributions of researchers and journalists who bring to light new evidence that advances the health system and the health of Americans."The winning entries were chosen by independent panels of highly esteemed journalists and researchers.

Television and Radio Journalism Award


Bill Whitaker, Ira Rosen, Sam Hornblower, Robert Zimet, Lenny Bernstein and Scott Higham, “The Whistleblower and Too Big to Prosecute,” 60 Minutes, CBS, and The Washington Post

This investigation revealed the forces that undermined the Drug Enforcement Agency in holding drug industry middlemen accountable for their role in the opioid addiction epidemic. The judges were impressed by the whistle-blower testimony, the clear storytelling on a very complex issue, and the far-reaching implications of this exposé.


Honorable Mention:

Jake Harper, “A Drugmaker Tries to Cash In On The Opioid Epidemic, One State Law At A Time” and “To Grow Market Share, A Drugmaker Pitches Its Product To Judges,” NPR & Side Effects Public Media

This series found that a pharmaceutical company had persuaded lawmakers and courts to undertake actions that would increase use of one of the company's drugs while restricting access to alternative medication. The judges applauded the "great enterprise reporting” demonstrated by a solo reporter at a local public radio affiliate.

General Circulation Print Journalism Award


Mike Baker and Justin Mayo, “Quantity of Care,” The Seattle Times, 2/10/2017, 2/10/2017, 2/21/2017, 3/12/2017, 5/9/2017, 5/28/2017, 5/28/2017, 8/7/2017, 8/10/2017, 12/14/2017

This investigation uncovered the relationship between growing operating-room revenues, over-booked surgical schedules and warnings about patient safety at one Seattle hospital. The judges were impressed by the reporters' access to insider sources and internal documents as well as by the "tremendous impact" of the series.

Digital Media Award


Sarah Jane Tribble, Sydney Lupkin, Heidi de Marco, John Hillkirk, Francis Ying, Lydia Zuraw, Diane Webber and Scott Hensley, “The Orphan Drug Machine,” Kaiser Health News (Part 1, 2, 3, 4)

This series examined how an FDA program designed to help patients with rare diseases get access to new medicines has been used to increase profits on existing drugs. The judges called the series "exhaustive" and "incredible reporting that had an impact," praising the use of data interactives, audio and video to explain the issue clearly.

Trade Journalism Award


Lauren Gravitz, “Autism’s Drug Problem,” Spectrum

This report shared the stories of people on the autism spectrum who have suffered side effects from taking multiple prescription drugs, spotlighting the lack of research on this common treatment practice. The judges called the evidence gap "a major problem" and praised the story for "raising a bunch of questions that haven't been answered.”

Research Award


Zarek C. Brot-Goldberg, Amitabh Chandra, Benjamin R. Handel and Jonathan T. Kolstad, “What Does a Deductible Do? The Impact of Cost-Sharing on Health Care Prices, Quantities and Spending Dynamics,” Quarterly Journal of Economics

This paper demonstrated that consumers in high-deductible health plans do not respond to the true pricing structure and instead cut use across all types of care to avoid costs in the moment, even when they will likely later exceed their deductibles. The judges called this an "excellent paper" that is "more relevant today than ever," noting the growing importance of understanding consumer behavior in high-deductible plans.

The winners and finalists will be honored at a banquet in Washington, D.C. next month, and the winners will each receive a $10,000 cash prize.


NIHCM Foundation
(202) 296-4426