2016 ICPE Dublin Insights

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A Look Back - A Look Ahead

"ICPE continues to be THE place to learn from others and share what we have learned."
Susana Perez-Gutthann, MD, PhD, MPH, FISPE, FRCP
  Vice President and Global
  Head of Epidemiology

Elizabeth Andrews, PhD, MPH, FISPE, Reflects On How Epidemiology Has Evolved Over the Last Few Decades

The field of pharmacoepidemiology is vibrant, mature, and still inquisitive.  Academic programs are thriving, and regulatory and government interest and commitment to our field have never been greater. Multi-institution and multi-national research collaborations are enhancing the quality of our science and the ability to answer questions previously beyond our scope. ISPE's active Special Interest Groups, councils, and educational programs demonstrate the vibrancy of the research community and diversity of interests within our field.

Within some institutions, we see a diluting of traditional pharmacoepidemiology with epidemiologists being asked to wear multiple hats–in drug safety issues, comparative effectiveness, and observational research supporting market access. While epidemiology clearly has a role in all these areas, this broader role can be demoralizing to individual researchers interested in depth over breadth and lead to a general weakening of expertise within those organizations.  In addition, the continuing consolidation of research organizations and sponsor companies, while perhaps increasing some aspects of research capacity, may also threaten the diversity and innovation in methods and approaches. 

I am hopeful that the collegial spirit within ISPE–perhaps its greatest strength–will motivate continued advocacy across government, industry, and academic sectors.   

Closing Thoughts from ICPE 2016 Scientific Program Chair, Mary Beth Ritchey, PhD

Hot topics regarding therapeutic product epidemiology this year included patient engagement, transitioning coding systems in databases, working with ‘big data’ and ‘real world data’, and the latest considerations for defining exposures, outcomes, comparison groups, and covariates. It was also wonderful to have in depth conversations about specific topics of interest: the growing need for strong epidemiology early in the rare-disease product pipeline; the impact of new guidance/legislation on medical device epidemiology in both US and EU; and better integration of safety, effectiveness, and ‘convenience’ assessments to have meaningful outcomes for regulators, reimbursement decision-makers, and patients.

It is inspiring to join the conversation in such an active society. I am honored to have been part of putting together ICPE 2016 and am thankful to ALL who contributed to its success.

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