Health care consumers and payers are reacting to the escalating costs of health care. They are demanding lower costs and higher quality care delivered more efficiently. The UCSF School of Pharmacy is responding to the challenge through the Program for Outcomes, Pharmaceutical Economics, and Policy Studies (PrOPEPS).

PrOPEPS aims to meet the needs of patients, caregivers, health care systems, and industry to determine the best use of pharmaceutical care resources in the management of disease in the current health care environment of scarce resources. The program is research- and teaching-focused and concentrates both on theoretically based economics research and health care system-based clinical outcomes research. Economic research impacting health policy, new technology, new payment systems, and outcomes of clinical practice are major goals of the research program.

Faculty expertise

PrOPEPS is based in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, which has a core faculty with expertise in clinical, social science, and economic research, and collaborates with faculty members and departments representing epidemiology, medicine, surgery, diagnostics, biomedical informatics, and statistics throughout the UCSF and UC Berkeley campuses on a project-specific basis. The program advances the field of pharmaceutical economics through research, education, the development of methodology, application to clinical practice, and social policy.


The goal of PrOPEPS is to determine the best use of health care resources in the care of patients within current health care systems using techniques of cost-effectiveness, cost utility, cost-benefit, return on investment, cost of illness, decision analysis modeling, conjoint analysis, and behavioral economics. The program is a resource to industry, managed care systems, pharmacy benefits management systems, practitioners, state health departments, and government officials who must make decisions about the best use of health care resources in patient care and new incentive-based payment models.

Specific objectives

  1. To develop methods in the areas of economic study design, methodology, database development; analysis and interpretation for pharmaceutical economic and drug policy studies, including cost and utility and other preference assessments; cross design synthesis; conjoint analysis; and decision analyses
  2. To serve as a bridge in bringing together the program's researchers and other UCSF researchers with pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry needs to provide evidence for decisions about the efficient use of new technologies
  3. To evaluate the cost effectiveness and cost utility of new technologies introduced into the health care system, including new drug or diagnostic products and practices
  4. To assess the variations in the pharmaceutical management of patients and their drug treatments in today's new health care systems and to determine the effect of pharmacy treatment strategies on patient outcomes
  5. To further graduate education through involvement of fellows and graduate students in the program and its research, resulting in an educated labor pool in pharmaceutical economics and health policy
  6. To study the access, costs, and quality of health care in society
  7. To disseminate theoretical and practical information to the health care community

Unique aspects of PrOPEPS

PrOPEPS will provide research to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry, managed care systems, and policy officials. The program will provide a unique capability to plan a research program, collect new data, or provide retrospective data from local, state and national databases, and conduct research in pharmaceutical and health economics, health systems research, and health policy.

More specifically

  1. The focus of PrOPEPS will be to provide university-based clinical and research expertise in pharmaceutical and health economics and policy to industries and health care systems that need to make decisions about the organization and use of pharmaceutical technologies and resources.
  2. The program will bring together university-based research methods to address the practical decisions of new models of care and incentive-based payment systems in the delivery of health care.
  3. The program will bring together university-based research methods to address the immediate policy questions of access, cost, and quality of patient health care use and organization for state and national public officials.
  4. The program will bring together university-based research methods to address questions about the cost, utility, and efficiency of the development of new drugs, especially biotechnology drugs, and their introduction into health care systems.
  5. The program will have a core of researchers to evaluate and suggest a program of research and will invite additional UCSF clinical and methodological experts to join the specific project, in order to provide an efficient research proposal with the best expertise. The program has special expertise in conjoint analysis, decision analysis modeling, cost of illness, placing economics into clinical trials, outcomes analysis, cost-effectiveness and cost utility analyses, and payment models.
  6. The program has access to several national and state databases and disease-specific data bases to provide information for modeling utilization and costs of care.
  7. The program has individuals with industry and managed care experience to provide practical advice on a program of research for the customer.
  8. The program has access to graduate students, interns, and fellows who will be involved in the research program.

Who can use PrOPEPS?

Pharmaceutical industry

PrOPEPS has expertise in developing and conducting research to demonstrate the incremental value of a new product or technology. This program begins early in drug development with a cost of illness study to determine the disease prevalence and mortality and the baseline costs of treating a disease currently. It may be desirable to add some economic and quality of life or utility measures to a phase three clinical trial so that an economic assessment can be made at the time of drug approval. Alternatively, the disease and its treatment may be modeled so that efficacy results from the clinical trial and other published literature can be applied through meta-analysis to the analysis of the cost effectiveness of a new treatment. It may be desirable to focus on the quality of life or patient preferences through utility measurement for a product, which emphasizes these aspects. Finally, it is often important to determine the cost effectiveness of a drug product within a particular health care system through targeted analysis of variations and impacts of treatments within a disease area and the effect a new product introduction will have on the health care system. PrOPEPS can discuss a program of research with you and determine which is best for you.

Managed care systems

PrOPEPS has expertise in the pharmaceutical care of patients and the selection of the best drug products for a given patient group, balancing the cost and quality of each drug by the characteristics of the patient. In addition, PrOPEPS has expertise in the management of health care within new models of care. We have expertise in developing and testing new incentive-based payment models in a variety of practice settings.

Our pharmacists are currently practicing pharmaceutical care in a variety of managed care systems and large retail pharmacy systems. We are in a unique position to be able to determine the variations in the use of drug products within a disease area and recommend changes that emphasize value yet provide safe and effective drug therapy. We have physician practitioners specializing in most disease areas as well. They can provide access to disease-specific data bases. We can then provide information on the effects of changes in health care on patient outcomes.

Policy experts

As the health care system changes and more Medicare and Medicaid patients are entering managed care systems for their health care, it is important to assess the impact on patients' access, cost and quality of care. PrOPEPS can examine the effects of these and other policy changes on the health outcomes of patients both on a system-by-system basis and on a global or more national level. Certain health care problems involve a high level of pharmaceutical care, and many of these are vulnerable to hospital admissions if drug treatment fails either through compliance problems or inadequate treatment. These diseases are excellent candidates for the assessment of variations in practice and outcomes of treatment. PrOPEPS can assess the policy impact on these and other disease areas.

Program director

  • Leslie Wilson, PhD

Core faculty

  • Patrick Finley, PharmD
  • B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD
  • James Lightwood, PhD
  • Leslie Wilson, PhD

Other resources at UCSF

  • Institute for Health Policy Studies
  • Institute for Health and Aging
  • Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Department of Urology
  • Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
  • Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute
  • Cancer Research Institute
  • Moffitt Long, Mount Zion, and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospitals
  • Other University of California pharmacy and medical schools and their affiliated hospitals

Contact us

Leslie Wilson, PhD
Program Director
[email protected]
tel 1: 415-502-5092
tel 2: 415-990-1012