B.C. experts gauge bottom line of new drugs (Dr. Wei Zhang)

With arcane concepts such as paramaterized economic models, descriptive and inferential analysis and bias sensitive propensity scores, health economics is a uniquely demanding field. It’s no wonder most industry specialists have a litany of peer-reviewed, journal-published studies to their names, and resumés bristling with abbreviations like PhD, MSc, and MEc.

Arguably the most complex iteration of this field of study, pharmacoeconomics (the economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals), undergirds a lesser-known consultancy industry called health economics and outcomes research (HEOR). The active ingredient in the growth of these sectors in Canada stems from regulatory changes in 2004 to the ways drugs were approved for sale.

Wei Zhang, program head of health economics at the Centre for Health Evaluation & Outcome Sciences at St. Paul’s Hospital, said economic evaluation used to come after a drug had been delivered to patient populations. “Now cost effectiveness has become part of standard analysis,” she said.

Peter DeVries reports

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