Padula Receives 2023 Frontier Award in Value Assessment

The award supports research investigating how the patient-centered GRACE payment model can improve the valuation of treatments for breast and prostate cancer.

William Padula, PhD, assistant professor of pharmaceutical and health economics at the USC Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, has received a 2023 Frontier Award in Value Assessment from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Foundation. The award provides $500,000 in funding over three years.

Padula is using the funds to investigate applications of Generalized Risk-Adjusted Cost-Effectiveness (GRACE) to valuing cancer therapies. GRACE is a value-assessment model co-developed by Darius Lakdawalla, the Quintiles Chair in Pharmaceutical Development and Regulatory Innovation at USC Mann and director of research for the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics.

Lakdawalla is also collaborating on the study, along with Schaeffer Center colleagues Karen Mulligan and Barry Liden. The research is being conducted in partnership with clinical investigators at the interdisciplinary Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC.

“We aim to illustrate the utility of GRACE to improve interpretation of the value of treatments for the most common cancers affecting women and men—breast cancer and prostate cancer,” Padula says.

GRACE is designed to improve healthcare valuation by accounting for patients’ preferences and diminishing returns. The model’s formulas incorporate the value of hope, price of insurance and importance of health equity to quantify optimal cost-effectiveness thresholds that rise for more severe diseases and reduce for milder conditions.

The field of value assessment—which involves building tools for evaluating the relative benefits and costs of healthcare interventions—has become increasingly important as the U.S. moves toward a value-based healthcare system. “This work should have important implications for federal agencies such as Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as they explore new methods in pharmacoeconomics to support drug price-negotiation efforts under the Medicare Part D program,” Padula notes.

To ensure that patients’ voices are heard in this process, the research team is engaging with the support organizations CancerCare and The Breast Cancer Fundraiser.

The Frontier Award is granted through the PhRMA Foundation’s recently launched Value Assessment and Health Outcomes Research program, which bolsters the empirical testing of value assessment methods.