Myerson Honored, Student Scholars Present Research at International Health Economics Conference

Pictured: Rebecca Myerson, MPH, PhD, at the 2018 ISPOR Annual International Meeting in Baltimore, Md.

BALTIMORE — Assistant Professor Rebecca Myerson, MPH, PhD, accepted the 2018 ISPOR Health Economics and Outcomes Research Application Award at the ISPOR Annual International Meeting in Baltimore, Md., on May 22 for her research on the impact of trans fatty acid bans on the rates of heart attacks and stroke.

The study, published in JAMA Cardiology in June 2017, analyzed New York counties that implemented bans on trans fatty acids, comparing them to similar counties without such bans. The authors conducted an innovative difference-in-differences analysis in which they adjusted for commuting between restriction and non-restriction counties, given that people may consume food near their place of work. Myerson, a health economist at the Schaeffer Center, led the design of the analysis and conducted the analysis.

Myerson, who joined the USC School of Pharmacy faculty in 2016, and her coauthors found that New York counties that implemented restrictions on trans fats experienced an additional 6.2 percent decline in hospital admissions for heart attack and stroke three or more years after the bans were implemented compared to counties without restrictions in place. The results translate to 43 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 100,000 people. Previously, little was known about the effects of trans fatty acid restrictions on population-level cardiovascular outcomes.

“This is a well-deserved award commensurate with the innovative methods used by professor Myerson and her colleagues,” said Schaeffer Center director Dana Goldman, professor of pharmacy, public policy and economics at USC.  “On the study team, Dr. Myerson led that effort.”

The study came at a pivotal time.  In 2015 the Food and Drug Administration determined trans fats were no longer “generally recognized as safe” to consumers in processed foods, and effective in 2018, restrictions on industrially made trans fatty acids were implemented across the United States.

Lead author on the study is Eric J. Brandt of Yale University School of Medicine. Myerson’s other co-authors include Marcelo Coca Perraillon of University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Tamar S. Polonsky of University of Chicago Department of Medicine. The publication garnered significant national attention with mentions in over 100 news articles and blog posts and was viewed more than 1,600 times on the JAMA website.

Students share health economics and outcomes research

Three USC School of Pharmacy health economics doctoral students gave podium presentations at the ISPOR Annual International Meeting, joining thousands of attendees from around the world in sharing health economics and outcomes research to improve decision-making for health globally.

PhD student Xiaohan Hu, who won an ISPOR Research Presentation Podium Award at the annual meeting in 2016, returned to present new research, “Trends in the Economic Value of Newly Approved Cancer Therapies.”

Sang Kyu Cho presented “Three-Part Pricing to Reward Pharmaceutical Innovation and Increase Access: Case of PCSK9 Inhibitors” and Xue Han, PhD student in Health Economics, presented “Secondary Prevention Using Cholesterol-Lowering Medications in Patients Meeting New Treatment Guidelines: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis.”

Additionally, USC School of Pharmacy doctoral students presented 20 posters on a wide range of topics including treatments and care for patients with cancer.

Founded in 1995, ISPOR is the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, with 9,500 individual and student members from 114 countries.  ISPOR is recognized globally as the leading educational and scientific organization for health economics and outcomes research and its use in health care decisions.