By Sara Gold, Editor-in-Chief
Tyler Marquez was caught by surprise when she finally found out that her scholarly article, which she had submitted to the Food and Drug Law Institute’s annual competition months earlier, had won an award!
Marquez placed third in the Institute’s national Austern Writing Competition, which solicits articles about the legal implications of FDA-regulated industries, including food, drugs, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and medical devices. She submitted her article back in early June.
“From June to October, time passed and I assumed I was not even being considered, so the news was a shock but also a nice surprise,” Marquez said.
Her paper, titled “The Phenomenon of Financial Toxicity: Health Care’s Insatiable Disease,” discusses the negative effect that rising pharmaceutical drug costs have on overall patient health.
“The problem is that people are not taking the medications they need because they are so expensive, sometimes costing thousands of dollars per month,” Marquez explained.
She originally wrote the paper last spring for her FDA Law Seminar taught by Professor Robert Bohrer. The research process included researching statistics about Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers, as well as comparing health care costs in America to those in other countries.
Her paper proposes that physicians and health care professionals should take a more active role in counselling their patients on the financial aspects of their treatment, with a focus on cancer treatment. Marquez says the concept of “financial toxicity,” i.e. declining patient health resulting from high drug costs, is not widely talked about in the greater health law discussion.
“This concept is new and unconventional, and because of that, there was not a lot of information about it when I first started researching,” she said. “I had to mold my path in finding data and sources that could fit under the theme of financial toxicity.”
After she submitted her paper for her class, Professor Bohrer encouraged her to submit it to the Food and Drug Law Institute competition. With feedback and suggestions from her professor, Marquez made some revisions and then submitted the article.
This is not the first scholarly article Marquez has written about health care law. During her 2L year, she wrote an article about medical tourism for her Health Law & Policy class. Medical tourism is the trend of Americans travelling out of the country for dental and surgical care due to high American treatment costs. Since then, she has taken an interest in examining financial barriers to optimal health care, inspiring her to write her latest article on financial toxicity.
“Price matters. I hope my paper sparks a conversation that cost impacts health and that patient-physician discussions are needed so that patients are receiving the best care possible.” – Tyler Marquez
Originally hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Marquez attended Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where she studied health policy, political science, and Spanish. She also played collegiate soccer.
Now, as a 3L, she continues to pursue her passion for health law and policy. In addition to serving as president of the Health Law Society, she interned with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program’s HIV/AIDS department.
“It was eye-opening to learn how HIV/AIDS patients are discriminated against not only in terms of health care but also in other areas like housing and bankruptcy,” Marquez said. “I felt honored to have been able to help these clients, and I look forward to advocating for better health law policies as a future attorney.”