In memoriam: Stuart Schweitzer, 80, internationally renowned health economist

Stuart Schweitzer
Stuart Schweitzer

Stuart Schweitzer, longtime professor of health policy and management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, died of cancer Jan. 5. He was 80.

Schweitzer taught at UCLA beginning in 1976, when he became the first faculty member in the public health school who had formal economics training. Forty-two years later, he retired, having served in a variety of leadership positions, including division and department chair and vice chair. He was esteemed for his genuine care about his students' well-being and was an exceptionally kind mentor.

Esteemed across the globe for his scholarship in the field of health economics, Schweitzer was widely sought for his expertise about pharmaceutical policy. The first edition of his treatise "Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy" was published in 1997 and favorably reviewed by the New England Journal of Medicine. The popularity of the book continued through its third edition, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. He wrote nine books, 28 book chapters, and co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and 50 additional publications.

Schweitzer, who also researched the correlations between pharmaceutical pricing and technology adoption, and knowledge transfer from academic to industrial and delivery settings, served as an adviser and consultant to the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and its predecessors. Schweitzer also was a senior staff member of the U.S. President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties, for which he wrote a report on a national health policy. In addition, he served seven years on the review and evaluation board at the VA's Health Services Research and Development Service.

His visiting academic appointments included the University of Oxford, Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, University of Bologna, University of Ferrara and Ecole Superieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciale. While at ESSEC, Schweitzer developed a shared virtual classroom, where students studying pharmaceutical economics and policy in Paris and in Los Angeles could connect. For more than 25 years, Schweitzer and his longtime collaborator and colleague at the Fielding School, William Comanor, professor of health policy and management, organized and taught the Fielding School's seminar in pharmaceutical economics and policy. Schweitzer also wrote the first two editions of the book "Pharmaceutical Economics" and co-authored more than a dozen publications.

"Stuart had a career marked by questions worth asking, answers worth paying attention to, a commitment to sharing his understanding through publication, advising, service, teaching, and the education of future researchers and scholars," said Jack Needleman, the Fred W. and Pamela K. Wasserman Professor of Health Policy and Management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. "We will miss him as a colleague and a friend."

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