The main focus of my research is on pharmaceutical policy, including the effects of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and physician-directed promotion on prescribing and medicine use decisions. I also carry out systematic reviews of the effectiveness and safety of new drugs with UBC’s Therapeutics Initiative, and contribute to the Therapeutics Initiative’s educational activities and independent bulletin, the Therapeutics Letter, available at http://www.ti.ubc.ca/TherapeuticsLetter.
Current research activities include ‘Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives and Patient Safety’, a study of the extent to which sales representatives are providing safety-related information on promoted drugs to family physicians. This CIHR-funded study compares information provision in three regulatory environments: in Canada, the U.S. and France.
A second study uses administrative data to examine patterns of use of psychotropic medicines in British Columbia, and to assess two neonatal health outcomes which have been associated with SSRI antidepressant use but for which evidence is either contradictory or limited: persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, and autism spectrum disorders in children with prenatal exposure.
Another area of work is on model curriculum development on conflicts of interest and interactions with the industry for medical and pharmacy students. This project was co-sponsored by the World Health Organization and an NGO, Health Action International, and is ongoing.