New leader for Center for Consumer Self Care at UCSF

By Wallace Ravven

The UCSF Center for Consumer Self Care has appointed a new leader. R. William Soller, PhD, former leading regulatory scientist and health policy advocate for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, is the new executive director of the Center in the UCSF School of Pharmacy.

The Center focuses research on consumer behavior and health policy issues affecting self care decisions. The research is intended to help consumers make sound health care decisions.

Soller has also been appointed a member of the clinical faculty in the UCSF School of Pharmacy.

“Dr. Soller has had a distinguished career in health policy and research relating to self care with nonprescription medicines and dietary supplements, and his experience with government agencies and research will add important dimensions to the Center ‘s growth,” said Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD, dean of the top-ranked UCSF pharmacy school.

Soller succeeds Lorie Rice, MPH, the Center’s first director and an associate dean in the UCSF School of Pharmacy who will continue to manage key educational initiatives of the Center.

“Empowerment through responsible self care is vital to improving the health of patients taking prescription drugs under the care of physicians and of consumers using over-the-counter products,” said Soller.  “As baby boomers age, they will have to learn to prevent and manage chronic conditions and diseases to care for themselves and their families in a way that minimizes risks, poor health outcomes and costs. The Center faculty have the expertise to help define the national health policy objectives relating to self care, and to undertake the needed research and educational programs to address this core element of health care.”

At the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Soller guided the development of the organization’s science, technology and regulatory affairs group. A leader in research and health policy programs for the association, he was an important contributor to development of the OTC “Drug Facts Label,” particularly the conceptual basis for content and format of the label, and he accepted for CHPA a special recognition award from Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research for these efforts.

Soller’s prior experience was with Lederle Laboratories and Sterling Drug Inc. where he led the regulatory efforts resulting in aspirin’s approval for the prevention of stroke and heart attack, still a leading therapy savings tens of thousands of consumer lives a year.

Soller has taken the lead in many self-regulatory labeling initiatives of the nonprescription drug and dietary supplement industries, as a means to speed needed safety information to consumers. Among many reports he has submitted to government agencies on public health policy issues relating to self care are reports on the criteria for “OTCness,” regulatory issues relating to switching products from prescription to nonprescription status, and the regulatory policy framework for when to warn consumers of predictable adverse effects related to drug product use.

Prior to joining industry, Soller was assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a member of the University’s Institute of Neurosciences.  He received his PhD in Medical Sciences in 1975 from Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.  He received his BA in 1968 from Colby College.