McCombs Presents Research Findings on Hepatitis C Treatment Approaches

Research conducted by Jeffrey S. McCombs, PhD – associate professor of Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy, Gerontology and Public Administration, and director of Graduate Studies – and colleagues may have a significant effect on treatment approaches for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which affects the livers of an estimated 3.5 million people in the United States alone.

Using data from the United States Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) Electronic Medical Records, the study evaluated the real-world effectiveness of several direct-acting antiviral treatments on patients infected with chronic hepatitis C, since these treatments have shown high efficacy results in clinical trials, but have had limited real-world data that compared across drugs.

McCombs, who collaborated with USC doctoral fellow Justin J. McGinnis, Steven Fox of Keck School of Medicine, and Ivy Tonnu-Mihara of VA Long Beach Healthcare System on the study, presented the research findings at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) 21st Annual International Meeting in Washington D.C. May 21-25.

An estimated 3.5 million individuals in the United States are infected with chronic hepatitis C virus, which is the leading cause for liver transplants. Patients with HCV are at risk of developing liver-related complications such as cirrhosis, liver failure and the cancer hepatocellular carcinoma. However, those outcomes can be prevented by treatment, which is rapidly improving and offers the potential of a cure to more patients than has been previously possible.

Annual ISPOR Meeting Features Wide Range of New Research

The ISPOR 21st Annual International Meeting featured more than 1,800 presentations on cost-of-illness, comparative effectiveness, and health care resource utilization studies targeting innovative uses of electronic medical records data, opioids, prostate cancer, metastatic breast cancer, schizophrenia, diabetes, and obesity, including a wide variety of issue panels, forums, workshops, and educational symposia.

Joel W. Hay, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical economics and policy at USC, is a founding executive board member of ISPOR and faculty advisor to the ISPOR student chapter at USC; Dana Goldman, PhD, Director of the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, is a member of the Board of Directors. Dr. McCombs is a charter member of the organization.

The School’s faculty, student and alumni are consistently well-represented at the annual ISPOR meeting. Graduate student presenters at the ISPOR 21st Annual International Meeting included Nikhil Bhagvandas, Yuchen Ding, Yifan Xu, Laura Henkhaus, Xinke Zhang, Cho-Han Lee, Wendy Cheng, Chia-Wei Lin, Andy Nguyen, Tianyi Lu and Weiyi Ni.

USC School of Pharmacy hosted a reception for ISPOR participants in Washington D.C. on Sunday, May 22.