The Ontario Drug Policy Research Network: bridging the gap between Research and Drug Policy

Health Policy. 2014 Sep;117(3):392-8. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2014.06.007. Epub 2014 Jul 8.


Policymakers have cited several barriers to using evidence in policy decisions, including lack of research relevance and timeliness. In recent years, several reports have focused on the successes and challenges of researcher-policymaker collaborations, a form of policy engagement intended to help overcome barriers to the use of research evidence in policymaking. Although these reports often demonstrate an increase in research relevance, rarely do they provide concrete methods of enhancing research timeliness, which is surprising given policymakers' expressed need to receive "rapid-response" research. Additionally, the impact of researcher-policymaker collaborations is not well-discussed. In this paper, we aim to describe the collaboration between the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN) and its policymaker partner, the Ontario Public Drug Program (OPDP), with a particular focus on the ODPRN's research methodology and unique rapid-response approach for policy engagement. This approach is illustrated through a specific case example regarding drug funding policies for pulmonary arterial hypertension. Moreover, we discuss the impact of the ODPRN's research on pharmaceutical policy and lessons learned throughout the ODPRN and OPDP's five-year partnership. The described experiences will be valuable to those seeking to enhance evidence uptake in policymaking for immediate policy needs.

Keywords: Evidence-informed policy; Pharmaceutical policy; Researcher–policymaker collaboration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Ontario
  • Policy Making*
  • Prescription Drugs / standards*
  • Research Personnel
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / methods*


  • Prescription Drugs