Incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in men receiving steroid 5α-reductase inhibitors: population based cohort studyBMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1204 (Published 10 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1204
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Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD): Now unaffordable to many UK academics and NHS researchers.
Many family doctors in the UK contribute data to CPRD (https://www.cprd.com/ ) managed by the UK Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) in the belief that doing so allows research into the safety and effectiveness of prescribed medications and other UK public health research. Academic and NHS researchers have until recently paid £36,000 per year to access the database, a cost that many have really struggled to afford. The pharmaceutical industry can also buy copies of CPRD but not unreasonably pay more.
Recently, the costs of using CPRD have risen very substantially (£75,000 but more for hospitalisation and mortality data) to the extent that some UK academics and NHS researchers can no longer afford to use CPRD for UK academic and NHS medical research. Research funders also baulk at paying such large data access costs. As a result, many academic and NHS researchers being priced out of the UK CPRD data research market.
In contrast, prescribing and outcome data from Scotland ( https://www.isdscotland.org/Products-and-Services/eDRIS/ ) and Wales ( https://saildatabank.com/ ) are available for only the costs of processing the data for researchers. In many other EU countries, data held by national agencies are also supplied to public health researchers at minimal cost.
The most unbiased, conflict of interest free, and medicines regulatory science driven research is done by academic and NHS researchers primarily interested in improving public health and the regulation of medicines using charitable or public funder support including NHS funding. We now face the prospect of the UK CPRD being used only by the pharmaceutical industry, or foreign or very large UK Universities who can afford such high data access fees.
There have been previous public scandals concerning the sale of patient data in the UK. UK CPRD data should surely be able to be accessed by UK based researchers and not just the pharmaceutical industry and non-UK universities?
It is our view that the MHRA should to review its pricing structure to enable non-industry funded UK researchers to access CPRD at a more manageable cost. Perhaps MHRA should charge industry more and publicly funded UK researchers much less to make these UK data much more available to academic and NHS researchers?
Competing interests: No competing interests