Unpacking Policy Options to Promote Prescription Drug Affordability

Kirsten Axelsen, M.S., is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she focuses on domestic and international pharmaceutical drug policy. Before joining AEI, Axelsen worked for Pfizer for almost 20 years. As vice president for strategy and new business assessment in Pfizer’s Innovative Health and Essential Health units, her work included the oversight of business-development evaluations in the fields of rare disease, oncology, inflammation, immunology, and primary care. She was also responsible for developing a health strategy for emerging markets and renewing a 10-year strategic plan for China. Earlier, through her US work with the Pfizer Global Policy team, Axelsen dealt with the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Part D. Internationally, she worked on health technology assessment programs in the EU and quality-consistency evaluation of pharmaceutical drugs in China. Axelsen has been widely published in scholarly journals, including the American Journal of Managed Care, PharmacoEconomics, and Value in Health. She has also participated in a variety of conferences and panels discussions, including The Atlantic’s 2014 “Future of Medicine: A Conversation on Cost and Value.” Axelsen holds a B.A. from the University of Puget Sound and a M.S. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin. She also attended Columbia University’s School of Public Health and Harvard Business School’s Executive Education programs.

Kristi Martin, M.A., MPA, is managing director of Waxman Strategies where she leads the health care practice. As a veteran of the Department of Health and Human and Human Services (HHS), Martin continues her work at Waxman to drive a policy discussion to lower prescription drug prices, championing women’s health issues, and protecting patients and building a healthy society, from promoting effective public health strategies to addressing unsustainable health care costs. Prior to joining Waxman, Martin was a senior advisor in the Office of Health Reform at HHS, where she had primary oversight responsibility for the coordinated and timely implementation of the public health and prevention policy portfolio of the Affordable Care Act. In addition, Martin provided support and coordination related to cross-cutting Departmental initiatives, including the rising cost of drugs and women’s health issues. Previously, Martin served as the team lead for the State Analysis and Oversight Team in National Healthcare Operations at the US Office of Personnel Management. In this role, Martin led policy development and State engagement efforts to implement the Multi-State Plan Program. She has also worked in the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) and US Government Accountability Office (GAO) and at American Cancer Society and Easter Seals. Martin completed her undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Kentucky in communication with a focus on health and mass media studies. Martin also holds an MPA from the George Washington University.

James C. Robinson, Ph.D., MPH., is a Leonard D. Schaeffer Professor of Health Economics and director of the Berkeley Center for Health Technology (BCHT) at the University of California at Berkeley. He serves on a variety of professional advisory boards and gives numerous invited speeches for pharmaceutical and technology firms, health insurance plans, hospitals, physician organizations, universities, and public agencies. At Berkeley, Robinson’s research focuses on the biotechnology, medical device, insurance, and health care delivery sectors. He has published three books and over 140 papers in peer-reviewed journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Health Affairs. He teaches classes on public policy, health insurance, and the economics of the life sciences industry. In his personal life, Robinson has four children, speaks five languages, holds two passports, and has one love, his wife Kim.


Lovisa Gustafsson, MBA, is assistant vice president of the Controlling Health Care Costs program at The Commonwealth Fund. In this role, she oversees the Fund’s work on pharmaceutical and commercial prices and other efforts to curb U.S. health care spending. She joined the Fund in 2016 as the program officer for Breakthrough Health Care Opportunities. Prior to joining the Fund, Gustafsson served as senior vice president for the Marwood Group, a health care advisory organization, where she managed various outsourced private equity due diligence and strategy consulting engagements. In this role her work focused on federal and state reimbursement and regulatory trends and outlook, market research, and corporate strategy advisory services for investor, corporate, and non-profit clients. Before her role at the Marwood Group, she worked as a manager in corporate strategy and business development at McKesson, a senior consulting associate in quality and operations support for Kaiser Permanente, a senior policy analyst at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Medicaid, and a manager at Avalere Health LLC. Gustafsson earned an MBA in healthcare management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Sociology from Harvard.