Existing data sources for clinical epidemiology: Aarhus University Prescription Database

Clin Epidemiol. 2010 Dec 2:2:273-9. doi: 10.2147/CLEP.S13458.


Population-based prescription databases in Nordic countries have become a mainstay of epidemiologic research. Denmark has both national and regional population-based prescription databases. Aarhus University Prescription Database collects data on reimbursed medications dispensed at all community pharmacies of the North Denmark Region and the Central Denmark Region. The regions have a combined population of 1.8 million inhabitants, or one-third of the Danish population. Denmark's primary health care sector, which includes general practitioners, specialists, and dentists, generates about 96% of the prescription sales, most of which are reimbursable and are dispensed by the community pharmacies. The Aarhus University Prescription Database combines the region's pharmacy records in a single database, maintained and updated for research purposes. Each dispensation record contains patient-, drug-, and prescriber-related data. Dispensation records retain patients' universal personal identifier, which allows for individual-level linkage to all Danish registries and medical databases. The linked data have many applications in clinical epidemiology, including drug utilization studies, safety monitoring, etiologic research, and validation studies.

Keywords: epidemiology; prescriptions; registry-based research.