Dr. Inmaculada (Inma) Hernandez, Ph.D.

Professor, Division of Clinical Pharmacy
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Inmaculada (Inma) Hernandez, Ph.D.

Pronouns: She|Her|Hers


Human Resources

Mandi Garhartt (formerly Walker)


Research Summary

Inmaculada (Inma) Hernandez is a Professor with tenure at the University of California, San Diego. Her research program sits at the intersection of health services research, pharmaceutical policy, and pharmacoepidemiology. Hernandez has authored over 100 scientific articles (>80 as first or senior author), including first-authored papers in JAMA, JAMA Internal Medicine or Annals of Internal Medicine, among other leading journals. Her scientific contributions have been covered by media worldwide and have been featured by the main outlets, including New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, CNN, Forbes, or BBC.

Hernandez is a nationally recognized pharmaceutical policy scholar who has made major contributions to improving transparency in the drug pricing and reimbursement system. She was the first to quantify the contribution of innovation versus inflation in the rising trends of drug prices. In 2020, she documented in JAMA the increasingly large disconnect between the list prices of medications and manufacturers’ net revenue, which is the product of confidential rebates. In order to shed light into these opaque pricing dynamics, Hernandez developed an algorithm in collaboration with Sean Dickson that leverages multiple datasets to track cash flow across the drug supply chain. This algorithm produced the first public estimates of confidential manufacturer discounts to pharmacy benefit managers for leading drug products.

Hernandez maintains a NIH-funded research program focused on the application of advanced methods and large datasets to optimize medication use in older adults. These pharmaco-epidemiology efforts have centered on improving the use of anticoagulants to prevent strokes associated with atrial fibrillation, a common cardiac arrhythmia. Additionally, Hernandez has pioneered the execution of nationwide person-level geographic information systems (GIS) analysis to measure inequities in spatial accessibility to the health care infrastructure. This research line commenced in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic with the development of an app that informed the Pennsylvania Department of Health in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to medically underserved areas. 

Hernandez was recognized on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2018 and in 2021 she became the first pharmacist to receive the Academy Health Alice S. Hersh Emerging Leader Award.  She has been invited to testify before the Senate Finance Committee on pharmaceutical policy matters, and her research has been cited in high-profile policy documents, including ASPE, GAO, and MedPAC reports to Congress, CDC guidelines, FDA reports, NIH requests for information, and testimonies before both Chambers of Congress. Hernandez currently holds the National Academy of Medicine Fellowship in Pharmacy, and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

Academic Achievements

Education:  PhD in Health Services Research and Policy (2016) University of Pittsburgh; MS in Health Economics and Pharmacoeconomics (2013) Pompeu i Fabra University (Spain); International equivalent PharmD (2013) University of Navarra (Spain); (Second cycle degree under European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System Bologna Process; graduate-level pharmacy degree equivalent to PharmD in the US; not licensed to practice pharmacy in the US).

Selected Awards:  PhRMA Foundation Challenge Award for Addressing Unanswered Questions in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations (2023); National Academy of Medicine Fellow in Pharmacy (2022); Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy Award for Excellence (2022); Alice S. Hersh Emerging Leader Award (2021); University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Alumni Award for Research (2021); Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award (2019); Fellow, American Heart Association (2019); Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society Inductee (2019); Rho Chi Society Outstanding Scholarly Contribution Award (2019); Forbes 30 under 30 (2018); Fellow, American College of Cardiology (2018); Delta Omega National Public Health Honor Society Omicron Chapter Best Doctoral Dissertation Award (2017); PCORI/AHA Comparative Effectiveness Research and Precision Research Clinician Challenge Award (2016).

  • Introduction to Health Care Systems and Policy.
Key Contributions
  • First nationwide study documenting over-reimbursement of generic products by pharmacy benefit managers (2023)
  • Development of an algorithm that tracks cash flow across the drug supply chain (2023)
  • Development of an ArcGIS App that informed the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to medically underserved areas in Pennsylvania, as covered in US News & World Report
  • First nation-wide study quantifying access to potential COVID-19 administration facilities (2020)
  • First peer-reviewed report of the disconnect between list prices of medications and discounted prices (2020)
  • First publication quantifying to what extent rising drug prices are due to innovation versus inflation (2019)
  • First evidence on outcomes associated with the resumption of direct oral anticoagulants in patients surviving a major bleeding event  (2016)
  • First estimation of the risk of bleeding with dabigatran in the real-world clinical practice (2015)
Potential Collaborative Programs
  • Evaluation of the drug reimbursement system.
  • Health economics and outcomes research studies   of anticoagulants..
  • COVID-19 pandemic disruptions of cardiovascular disease care.
  • Application of geographic information systems (GIS) methods to quantify disparities in access to health care facilities.