Research Expertise & Professional Interests
Veronika J. Wirtz, MSc, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health at the Boston University School of Public Health, where she is also Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Pharmaceutical Policy. Her research focuses on health system strengthening and policy and program evaluations of medicines access and utilization. She is a Visiting Professor of the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico and coordinator of a student exchange program between the institutions of her affiliation.
Her interest and expertise include medicines price analysis, generic medicines policies, quality use of medicines, access to medicines for non-communicable diseases and the role of the private sector to promote equitable access and efficient use of medicines in low and middle income countries. Among other international studies Dr Wirtz carried out cross-national comparison of medicines consumption using large sales data bases to inform policy making about adequate use of medicines and prevention of antimicrobial resistance.
Between 2014 and 2016 she was the Co-Chair of The Lancet Commission on Essential Medicine Policies. The Commission had the goals of (1) re-confirming the ongoing relevance, and the crucial need of comprehensive essential medicines policies to achieve broader global health and sustainable development goals, especially universal health coverage and (2) formulating recommendations for global essential medicine policies for the next two decades. The Report of the Commission Essential Medicines for Universal Coverage was published in 2016.
From 2004 to 2012 she was researcher and lecturer at the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico and a founding member and Head of the Medicines in Public Health Research Group which is a multi-disciplinary team of 15 experts in health economics, epidemiology, social science carrying out pharmaceutical policy analysis in Mexico and Latin America. Over the last years she has regularly taught short courses in Pharmacoepidemiology and Medicines Utilization Research at INSP in Mexico.
She has worked as a technical adviser for various international organizations, among them the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Bank, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Alliance for Health Systems and Policy Research, Health Action International and the Ford Foundation. She has also worked with the Ministry of Health in Mexico on various program evaluations and capacity building initiatives. She published widely in international peer review journals such as The Lancet, British Medical Journal, World Health Organization Bulletin, Health Policy and Planning, Health Policy, Value in Health, Social Science and Medicine, Tropical Medicine and International Health. Since Fall 2016 she is Associate Editor of Health Systems & Reform, a leading journal publishing health system and policy research.
She received her training as a pharmacist from Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg, Germany and her Master in Clinical Pharmacy and PhD from the University of London in the UK.