Meet Annie Ogostalick, PharmD ’97, MS ’00, field director of Medical Outcomes Science Liaisons at AbbVie, recipient of the 2024 Pharmaceutical Health Economics Award at the upcoming USC Mann Alumni Awards Gala. Here, she talks about her work as AbbVie leading a team of pharmacists, physicians and PhDs and how she’s been involved in helping to expand and improve access for important new classes of medications for millions of patients.
As a role model to current students, could you describe your career trajectory and highlights?
I had a fairly good idea that I wanted to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry the summer after I completed my third year in the PharmD program. I pressed “pause” on my intern pharmacist position at Kaiser Permanente for the summer and instead completed an APhA Summer Internship at Novartis at their corporate headquarters in New Jersey. That 10-week experience demonstrated all of the possible career paths for pharmacists in Industry, from A (discovery research) to Z (sales and marketing) and everything in between, which was truly eye-opening. It also helped me to decide that my best opportunity in order to open the doors to a career in the industry was to continue my education after my PharmD, complete a fellowship and earn an MS in Pharmaceutical Economics and Public Health Policy.
Career highlights for me are many. I have been fortunate to have been involved in helping to expand and improve access for some important new classes of medications for millions of patients, especially those in Medicaid and the VA. I love seeing my team members work on issues or problems and figure out creative solutions they might not have believed were achievable. I take great pride in developing people and watching them progress in their own careers. I have also had the opportunity to have our AbbVie CEO, Richard Gonzalez, and other executives accompany me to dialogue with national U.S. payer decision-makers in order to better align on and understand their perceptions of the clinical and real-world data that supports value and access to various pharmaceuticals for patients across the country.
What does your role, Field Director of Medical Outcomes Science Liaisons, do?
I am a “people leader” at AbbVie in our Global R&D function. I lead a team of pharmacists, physicians, and PhDs who have data-driven pharmacoeconomic and scientific conversations about clinical evidence needed to make access and formulary decisions for pharmaceuticals with U.S. payers. In a nutshell, my team is there for health care decision-makers to share and discuss evidence to answer the questions “Can It Work?”; “Does It Work?”; and “Is It Worth It?” for payers and their patient populations.
How did your experiences at USC affect where you are in your career today?
I found that doors were gladly opened wide for me because of the high-quality education, research experiences and world-renowned faculty with whom I was lucky enough to collaborate. I was also fortunate enough to be a part of the first cohort of students awarded the John and Margaret Biles Leadership Scholarship in 1994. Dr. Biles personally mentored each of us to become leaders in pharmacy. Many of the lessons he taught me are those that I use in my daily work as a people leader at AbbVie.
Did you have any mentors at USC and if so, who?
Absolutely. Besides Dr. Biles, I worked closely with and am forever indebted to Dr. Kathleen Johnson, Dr. Jeff McCombs, and Dr. Robert Koda for their time, their encouragement, and for seeing something special in me that maybe I did not recognize in myself at the time.
What advice do you have for current USC students? Alternatively, what is the best career advice you ever received during your time at USC?
Emotional intelligence and self-awareness can make all the difference in whether you get through versus truly excel in life and work. Take the time to truly assess where your strengths lie. Let them guide you to a place that allows you to thrive in your profession.
What does the Trojan Family mean to you? Is there anything else about your experience at USC that you’d like to share?
It truly is a real thing. Both of my parents graduated from USC, and I heard a lot about the Trojan Family growing up. We have an amazing network of alumni from both the Mann School and the broader university that can easily open doors for you.
Participation, both as a student and as an alum, makes for such a greatly enriched experience. The extracurricular and networking opportunities available are not to be missed. Go to a Trojan football or basketball game! Come to an Alumni Association picnic or mentoring session. You will leave with a few more friends, at the very least.