Curricular considerations for pharmaceutical comparative effectiveness research

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2011 Aug;20(8):797-804. doi: 10.1002/pds.2100. Epub 2011 Jan 10.


In the U.S. pharmacoepidemiology and related health professions can potentially flourish with the congressional appropriation of $1.1 billion of federal funding for comparative effectiveness research (CER). A direct result of this legislation will be the need for sufficient numbers of trained scientists and decision-makers to address the research and implementation associated with CER. An interdisciplinary expert panel comprised mostly of professionals with pharmaceutical interests was convened to examine the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be considered in the development of a CER curriculum for the health professions focusing predominantly on pharmaceuticals. A limitation of the panel's composition was that it did not represent the breadth of comparative effectiveness research, which additionally includes devices, services, diagnostics, behavioral treatments, and delivery system changes. This bias affects the generalizability of these findings. Notwithstanding, important components of the curriculum identified by the panel included study design considerations and understanding the strengths and limitations of data sources. Important skills and abilities included methods for adjustment of differences in comparator group characteristics to control confounding and bias, data management skills, and clinical skills and insights into the relevance of comparisons. Most of the knowledge, skills, and abilities identified by the panel were consistent with the training of pharmacoepidemiologists. While comparative effectiveness is broader than the pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacoepidemiologists have much to offer academic and professional CER training programs. As such, pharmacoepidemiologists should have a central role in curricular design and provision of the necessary training for needed comparative effectiveness researchers within the realm of pharmaceutical sciences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Comparative Effectiveness Research / economics
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research / organization & administration*
  • Curriculum*
  • Financing, Government
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Humans
  • Pharmacoepidemiology / education*
  • Pharmacoepidemiology / organization & administration
  • Research Support as Topic
  • United States