Press Release

West Health announces formation of Council for Informed Drug Spending Analysis (CIDSA)

3 min
December 07, 2020

Experts from leading academic institutions to provide independent analysis of policies designed to lower drug costs and spending

WASHINGTON, DC – Dec. 7, 2020 — The West Health Policy Center, a nonprofit and nonpartisan policy research and education organization, announced today the formation of the Council for Informed Drug Spending Analysis (CIDSA), a group made up entirely of leading policy experts from the worlds of academia and healthcare.

CIDSA will serve as a resource for policymakers, news media and the public seeking objective information and analysis of policies aimed at lowering prescription drug prices and managing drug spending. Members of the group come from leading academic institutions including Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, MIT Sloan School of Management, Boston University, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Washington University. CIDSA will provide standardized surveys on the effectiveness of policy proposals, fiscal estimates and analyses, and a dedicated space to publicize research and commentary on drug spending.

“In an effort to provide clear and unbiased information about the range of implications drug pricing policies can have on consumers, industry, and the country writ large, we formed CIDSA. Our work will offer expert analyses of which policies will meaningfully or only minimally reduce drug spending, and in some cases expose proposals that will increases costs,” said Sean Dickson, Chair of CIDSA and Director of Health Policy at West Health Policy Center. “Everything we do will be transparent and free of pharmaceutical industry influence.”

The nine-member council includes:

  • Ge Bai, PhD, CPA, Associate Professor of Accounting at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and Associate Professor of Health Policy & Management (joint) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
  • Ernst R. Berndt, PhD, Professor of Applied Economics Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Rena M. Conti, PhD, Associate Research Director of Biopharma & Public Policy for the Boston University Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy and Associate Professor at the Boston University Questrom School of Business.
  • Sean Dickson, JD MPH, Director of Health Policy at the West Health Policy Center. Dickson is a technical expert on the American drug system, including the full market lifecycle of pharmaceuticals.
  • Stacie Dusetzina, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and an Ingram Associate Professor of cancer research at Vanderbilt University.
  • Richard G. Frank, PhD, is the Margaret T. Morris Professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School.
  • Rachel Sachs, JD MPH, is an associate professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research explores the interaction of intellectual property law, food and drug regulation, and health law.
  • Ameet Sarpatwari, JD PhD, is an assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and assistant director of the Program on Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) within the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics.
  • Mariana Socal, MD PhD MS MPP, is an assistant scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For more about CIDSA, visit:

CIDSA, the Council for Informed Drug Spending Analysis, is an independent, nonpartisan expert group funded by West Health and focused on bringing a non-pharma perspective to drug spending policy dialogue. Learn more at and on Twitter at @CIDSAexperts.

About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at and follow @WestHealth.



Aimee Brierly