Darius Lakdawalla holds the inaugural Quintiles Chair in Pharmaceutical and Regulatory Innovation in the USC School of Pharmacy and the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. He is a professor of pharmaceutical economics and public policy, as well as the director of research at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC. Lakdawalla studies medical innovation and the organization of health care markets, focusing on the behaviors of health care providers, patients, and health care firms, and the consequences of their decisions on the future of health care.
Much of Lakdawalla’s research concentrates on often-overlooked factors within current economic and medical value assessments for end-of-life care, such as the value that patients may place on therapies that offer hope for a chance at a substantial survival gain. Conventional thinking implies that patients care only about the “typical” or “average” benefit of a drug, and not what might happen if they find themselves to be one of the lucky few that respond most successfully to a new treatment for a highly fatal disease like cancer. Lakdawalla’s research suggests that patients would much prefer to gamble on a modest chance at a big survival gain, than to take a “sure bet” on a smaller increase in life expectancy.
Using HPC resources to sift through big data generated by millions of doctors’ visits has provided Lakdawalla and his team a means of investigating the intersection of patient behavior, risk and uncertainty, and its effect on the marketplace. Lakdawalla and his team have also used HPC resources to study how the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit program for seniors has impacted the willingness of pharmaceutical companies to advertise products and invest in innovation.
Lakdawalla is currently a research associate in the Health Care and Health Economics programs at the National Bureau of Economic Research, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He has been the recipient of the Milken Institute’s Distinguished Economic Research Award for best research in the field of economics, and the recipient of the Garfield Prize for research on the economics of medical innovation. His work has been funded by the National Institute on Aging and the MacArthur Foundation.
ABOVE: The graph emphasizes research results indicating that patients would much prefer to gamble on a modest chance at a big survival gain, than to take a “sure bet” on a smaller increase in life expectancy.