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Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

University of Sydney academics land research grant to study medicines

Researchers from the University of Sydney Pharmacy School and the Sydney Medical School have landed a major research grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to set up a new evidence-gathering research venture that will generate vital information about the role that medicines play over Australians’ lifetimes.

University of Sydney Pharmacy School

Learn more about Sydney Pharmacy School

The NHMRC awarded five years of funding for the new Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Health Services Research focusing on Medicines and Ageing, which is spearheaded by a cross-institutional collaborative team of academics, including Professor Andrew McLachlan and Associate Professor Sallie-Anne Pearson from the Sydney Pharmacy School, Professor David Le Couteur and Dr Timothy Dobbins from the Sydney Medical School.

Using large linked datasets of routinely collected medicines and other health information, the CRE in Medicines and Ageing will produce essential evidence about real world use of medicines over the course of a person’s lifetime.

The evidence from the CRE will also influence national pharmaceutical policy decisions and health professionals making important treatment decisions with their patients. Professor McLachlan, who jointly leads the CRE Medicines and Ageing said the funding would generate quantitative evidence on the real-world use, harms, costs and cost-effectiveness of specific medicines in relation to ageing.

“This information is critical to understanding the balance of benefits and harms of medicines used across the adult lifespan,” Professor McLachlan said.

The researchers will work closely with agencies in health and medicines policy formulation, evaluation and decision-making.

Sydney Pharmacy School Associate Professor Sallie Pearson said the benefits would be far ranging, on a national scale: “A key element of the CRE is the training and development of researchers in the use and evaluation of medicines data,” adding that it will help to build a national workforce and research methods in pharmacoepidemiology to inform and evaluate health policy.

The Centre of Excellence is a national and international collaboration between researchers at the University of Sydney, Australian National University, The Sax Institute, University of Western Australia, University of NSW, University of Technology Sydney, and the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences in Canada.

Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Professor Iqbal Ramzan believes the Centre will be a successful model of research collaboration in healthcare, and one that will directly benefit the Australian population.

“We place a high value on collaborative research endeavours, as they enrich the work carried out within our faculty and universities more generally, and have the potential to lead to wide-ranging benefits for fellow Australians—which is especially critical in healthcare research,” said Professor Ramzan.

The Sydney Pharmacy School dean added that the faculty identifies health services and patient safety as an area of research expertise and this Centre is a major boost for their work in this field.

Learn more about Sydney Pharmacy School and Sydney Medical School.

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