Mendoza School of Business

Generic drug recall research wins best paper award

Published: September 5, 2019 / Author: Carol Elliott

Research by University of Notre Dame assistant professor Kaitlin Wowak won the 2019 Journal of Operations Management Jack Meredith Best Paper Award, which recognizes significant research published in the journal in the past year.

headshot of Kaitlin Wowak

Kaitlin Wowak

In their paper, “Product competition, managerial discretion, and manufacturing recall in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry,” Wowak and co-authors George Ball of Indiana University and Rachna Shah of the University of Minnesota considered the effect of competition on recalls of generic drugs. They found that greater product competition among generic drug manufacturers leads to a higher number of manufacturing-related recalls, suggesting that manufacturers may be cutting corners to lower drug prices.

The researchers examined 939 pharmaceutical recalls across 64 firms from 2002 to 2014. Using data from the FDA’s annual Orange Book, which tracks all approved medications in the United States, the researchers found that generic drugs with multiple manufacturers were recalled more frequently than brand-name drugs that were manufactured under a monopoly.

Wowak is an assistant professor in the Department of IT, Analytics, and Operations at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. Her research interests lie within the field of strategic supply chain management, with a focus on supply chain knowledge and disruptions. In recent studies, she has focused on product recalls and how these disruptions can facilitate organizational learning and capability development to mitigate the impact of future disruptive events. She is also currently studying traceability and how firms can trace products as they are distributed through global networks.

Wowak received her Ph.D. in business administration from the Pennsylvania State University; her M.S. in information systems from Johns Hopkins University; and her B.S. in finance from the University of Florida. She teaches process analytics at the undergraduate and graduate level and won the 2017 James Dincolo Teaching Excellence Award.