Record-linkage for pharmacovigilance in Scotland

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1999 Jan;47(1):105-10. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2125.1999.00853.x.


Record-linkage is the linkage of patient-specific information that is stored separately. Recent advances in computerization have meant that record-linkage techniques in medical research are increasingly being used and refined. In particular, they have made a significant contribution to pharmacovigilance, which involves linking drug exposure to outcomes data. In this article, the contribution of record-linkage in Scotland to medical research is described. The two organizations that utilize record-linkage techniques are the Medicines Monitoring Unit (MEMO) of the University of Dundee and the Information and Statistics Division (ISD) of the NHS in Scotland. Pharmacovigilance is MEMO's main concern (using data from the Tayside region of Scotland), while ISD link health care datasets for Scotland for general health care research. The experience of the two groups is now being combined to carry out drug safety studies in the entire population of Scotland.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Monitoring*
  • Humans
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / standards*
  • Medical Records*
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing
  • Scotland