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Geoffrey Joyce, PhD - USC School of Pharmacy. Los Angeles, CA, US

Geoffrey Joyce, PhD Geoffrey Joyce, PhD

Associate Professor & Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Economics | USC School of Pharmacy


Geoffrey Joyce is an expert in health care economics, including the impact of Medicare Part D, drug benefit design and costs of disease.





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Geoffrey Joyce | September 12, 2017


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Geoffrey Joyce is director of Health Policy at the USC Schaeffer Center, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Economics at the USC School of Pharmacy, and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Joyce is the author of more than 90 peer-reviewed articles, reports and book chapters, and his research has been published in leading medical, economic, health policy and statistics journals. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. News and World Report, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, National Public Radio and other media.

His research focuses on the costs of medical care and the role of insurance. He published a series of studies in JAMA examining the impact of alternative pharmacy benefit designs on prescription drug utilization and spending. Other studies by Joyce have examined the lifetime costs of chronic disease, smoking cessation, the cost-effectiveness of highly active antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected patients, and differences in medical care utilization and costs under alternative financing arrangements and treatment settings. He received a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation grant that integrates clinical pharmacy into primary care.

Areas of Expertise (11)

Drug benefit design

Health Care Economics

Medicare Part D

Aging and Chronic Disease


Cost of Chronic Disease

Insurance and Medical Care

Costs of Medical Care

Cost and Antiretroviral Therapy

Affordable Care Act

Prescription drug pricing

Education (3)

City University of New York: Ph.D., Economics 1995

University of Michigan, Ford School of Public Policy: M.P.P. 1988

Connecticut College: B.A., Economics and Political Science 1983

Affiliations (3)

  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, UCLA School of Public Health
  • Co-Director, UCLA/RAND Health Services Research Training Program

Selected Media Appearances (5)

The essential scan: Top findings in health policy research

Brookings  online


The generic drug market comprises about 90 percent of the prescriptions filled nationwide and has historically seemed to function quite well in that drug prices have tended to decrease over time and are often lower than those of other countries.

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Do price spikes on some generic drugs indicate problems in the market?

USC News  online


“In most cases, this reflects an emerging strategy by generic manufacturers to identify and enter therapeutic areas with limited competition and raise prices substantially,” said Geoffrey Joyce, the study’s lead author and Schaeffer Center director of health policy. Joyce is also an associate professor at the USC School of Pharmacy and chair of the school’s pharmaceutical and health economics department.

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Prescription Copays More Expensive Than Full Price?

Policy and Med  online


“You have insurance because your belief is, you’re paying premiums, so when you need care, a large fraction of that cost is going to be borne by your insurance company,” said Geoffrey Joyce, a USC economist who co-authored the study with Van Nuys. “The whole notion that you are paying more for the drug with insurance is just mind boggling, to think that they’re doing this and getting away with it.”

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Why a patient paid a $285 copay for a $40 drug

PBS  online


“You have insurance because your belief is, you’re paying premiums, so when you need care, a large fraction of that cost is going to be borne by your insurance company,” said Geoffrey Joyce, a USC economist who co-authored the study with Van Nuys. “The whole notion that you are paying more for the drug with insurance is just mind boggling, to think that they’re doing this and getting away with it.”

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Patients overpay for prescriptions 23% of the time, USC analysis shows

LA Times  


“Clearly this is going on [at a] much higher frequency than most people imagine,” said Geoffrey Joyce, who directs health policy at the center and was a coauthor on the study. “You’re penalizing people for having insurance.”

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Research Grants (3)

The Impact of Prior Authorization

American Medical Association $349,049

2016 Principal Investigator

Integrating Clinical Pharmacy Services in Safety-Net Clinics

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services $12,007,677

2012 Principal Investigator

Medco/RAND Center for Healthy Action

Medco Health Solutions $750,000

2009 Principal Investigator

Selected Articles (5)

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Medication Adherence Among Privately Insured Patients in the United States

PloS one

G. Joyce et al.

2019 To examine the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and racial and ethnic disparities in medication adherence for three widely prescribed therapeutic classes.

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PND64 Trends and Disparities in Pharmaceutical Treatment for Alzheimers Disease and Related Dementia Patients

Value in Health

G. Joyce et al.

2019 Researchers have yet to identify therapies that can reverse or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), but four prescription drugs (donepezil, galantamine, memantine, and rivastigmine) have been recommended in AD treatment guidelines, having shown effects on the symptoms of AD. Despite the potential of these drugs to at least partially reduce AD’s burden, relatively little is known about the current trends in the use of these drugs within the trajectory of dementia diagnoses and care. This study examines these trends, with specific attention to disparities in drug use across sex, race, and ethnicity.

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Generic Drug Price Hikes and Out-of-Pocket Spending for Medicare Beneficiaries

Health Affairs

Geoffrey Joyce et al.

2018 Recent increases in prices of longtime generic drugs have focused attention on competition in generic markets. We used Medicare Part D data for the period 2006–15 to examine sudden large price increases in generic drugs in the context of their base prices, duration, and accompanying changes in patients’ out-of-pocket spending. The fraction of drugs that at least doubled in price increased from 1.00 percent of generic products in 2007 to 4.39 percent in 2013. Almost all were initially low- or medium-price medications and not among the most widely used generics. Changes in out-of-pocket spending for these drugs were modest. However, the elevated prices persisted for two to five years. Data for 2011–15 showed similar trends.

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The Association of Multiple Anti-Hypertensive Medication Classes With Alzheimer’s Disease Incidence Across Sex, Race, and Ethnicity

PloS one

Geoffrey Joyce et al.

2018 In a retrospective cohort design, we examined the medical and pharmacy claims of a 20% sample of Medicare beneficiaries from 2007 to 2013, and compared rates of AD diagnosis for 1,343,334 users of six different AHT drug treatments, 65 years of age or older (4,215,338 person-years).

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Growing Number Of Unsubsidized Part D Beneficiaries With Catastrophic Spending Suggests Need For An Out-Of-Pocket Cap

Health Affairs

Geoffrey Joyce et al.

2018 Medicare Part D has no cap on beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket spending for outpatient prescription drugs, and, unlike Medicare Parts A and B, beneficiaries are prohibited from purchasing supplemental insurance that could provide such a cap. Historically, most beneficiaries whose annual Part D spending reached the catastrophic level were protected from unlimited personal liability by the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS). However, we found that the proportion of beneficiaries whose spending reached that level but did not qualify for the subsidy—and therefore remained liable for coinsurance—increased rapidly, from 18 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2015. Moreover, average total per person per year spending grew much more rapidly for those who did not qualify for the LIS than for those who did, primarily because of differences in price and utilization trends for the drugs that represented disproportionately large shares of …

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