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Health Economics

Health economics is an integration of economic theories and methods with health policies, services, and practices.

The Health Economics program at CHÉOS focuses on applying existing economic theories and methods to inform health policies, services and practices, as well as developing new methods to guide future health economics research.

Program Head: Dr. Wei Zhang

Our team of high-ranking health economists design studies in health economics; conduct economic evaluations of various health interventions; perform systematic reviews and meta-analysis commonly required in cost-effectiveness decision analytic modeling; measure and value health; and evaluate health policies, such as drug pricing regulations. The team has also developed instruments to measure and value the impact of health on patients’ work productivity, which enables employers and payers to understand the broader economic impact of health interventions.

Additionally, health care is undergoing a dramatic shift as a result of personalized medicine—emerging technologies that incorporate the use of genomic information into treatment decision-making. The need to evaluate these technologies, for both clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness, is exponentially increasing, and CHÉOS health economists are adapting quickly to this emerging trend.

The primary research and methodology areas our Health Economics program undertakes are:

Health Care and Pharmaceutical Policies

  • The impact of generic drug pricing regulations on exit by generic pharmaceutical firms (PubMed Link)
  • The impacts of health insurance policies on health care utilization (PubMed Link)
  • The impact of cost sharing of prescription drug costs on health care utilization (PubMed Link)


Alongside clinical trials:

  • Cost-effectiveness of diacetylmorphine versus methadone for chronic opioid dependence refractory to treatment: NAOMI trial (Project Page)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Comparison of Active Therapies in Patients With Active Disease Despite Methotrexate Therapy trial (RACAT) (Project Page)
  • SALOME trial – ongoing (Publication Link)

Decision analytic modelling:

  • Cost-effectiveness of diacetylmorphine versus methadone for chronic opioid dependence refractory to treatment (Publication Link)
  • Cost-effectiveness of newer antiretroviral drugs in treatment-experienced patients with multidrug-resistant HIV disease (Publication Link)
  • RACAT trial (Project Page)

Personalized Medicine

  • Barriers to integrating personalized medicine into clinical practice: A best-worst scaling choice experiment (Publication Link)
  • Practical pharmacogenetics: The cost-effectiveness of screening for TPMT in patients with rheumatological conditions treated with azathioprine (Publication Link)
  • Cost-effectiveness of using a molecular diagnostic test to improve preoperative diagnosis of thyroid cancer (Publication Link)
  • CHÉOS Postdoctoral Fellow is evaluating the cost-effectiveness of biomarkers that can predict response to treatment with biologics in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (Project Link)

Productivity Loss Measurement and Valuation

  • Estimating the monetary value of the annual productivity gained in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis receiving etanercept plus methotrexate: PRIZE trial (Publication Link)
  • Illness-related wage and productivity losses: Valuing presenteeism using employer-employee liked data (Publication Link)
  • Developing the Valuation of Lost Productivity (VOLP) questionnaire (Project Website)

Deriving and Measuring Quality Adjusted Life Years

  • Developing utility weights for the EQ-5D health states in a Canadian general population (Publication Link)
  • Multi-attribute health utility scoring for the computerized adaptive measure CAT-5D-QOL was developed and validated (Publication Link)
  • Exploring the validity of estimating EQ-5D and SF-6D utility values from the health assessment questionnaire in patients with inflammatory arthritis (Publication Link)

Systematic Reviews and (Network) Meta-Analysis

  • Outcomes associated with treatments for opioid-dependent individuals: A network meta-analysis – ongoing
  • The incidence of co-morbidities related to obesity and overweight: A systematic review and meta-analysis (Publication Link)
  • Systematic review of cost-effectiveness analyses of treatments for psoriasis (Publication Link)

Health research in the heart of Vancouver