Access to linked administrative healthcare utilization data for pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics research in Canada: anti-viral drugs as an example

File Size91.2 KiB
DateOctober 6, 2015
AuthorNigel S B Rawson
Purpose Administrative healthcare utilization data from Canadian provinces have been used for pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics research, but limited transparency exists about opportunities for data access, who can access them, and processes to obtain data. An attempt was made to obtain data from all 10 provinces to evaluate access and its complexity. Methods An initial enquiry about the process and requirements to obtain data on individual, anonymized patients dispensed any of four antiviral drugs in the ambulatory setting, linked with data from hospital and physician service claims, was sent to each province. Where a response was encouraging, a technical description of the data of interest was submitted. Results Data were unavailable from the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, and inaccessible from British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario due to policies that prohibit collaborative work with pharmaceutical industry researchers. In Nova Scotia, patient-level data were available but only on site. Data were accessible in Alberta, Quebec and Saskatchewan, although variation exists in the currency of the data, time to obtain data, approval requirements and insurance coverage eligibility. Conclusions As Canada moves towards a life-cycle management approach to drug regulation, more post-marketing studies will be required, potentially using administrative data. Linked patient-level drug and healthcare data are presently accessible to pharmaceutical industry researchers in four provinces, although only logistically realistic in three and limited to seniors and low-income individuals in two. Collaborative endeavours to improve access to provincial data and to create other data resources should be encouraged.