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Chapter: Pharmacovigilance: The General Practice Research Database

The GPRD is a widely used resource for studies in drug safety and pharmacoepidemiology.


The GPRD is a widely used resource for studies in drug safety and pharmacoepidemiology. The GPRD is main-tained and developed by the MHRA. The challenge is that analyses of GPRD data require a deep under-standing of both the GPRD and the UK health care system. For example, there have been major changes in the reporting and collection of some laboratory data. Collaboration with researchers who understand the GPRD and the UK health care system may be helpful.

The GPRD is used by researchers internationally in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, the NHS and UK Government Departments for research in areas such as disease epidemiology, drug/vaccine util-isation and safety, pharmacoeconomics and resource utilisation. Its value in pharmacoepidemiology is highlighted by its ongoing use by drug regulatory authorities – namely the US Food and Drugs Admin-istration (FDA) as well as the Post Licensing Division of the MHRA. Over 500 papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals testifying to the quality of the data. A bibliography can be found on the GPRD website (

General Practice Research Database is indebted to the GPs who contribute the data from their clinical system; INPS, the supplier of the Vision software computer system, used by contributing GPs; and the members of the Scientific Ethical Advisory Group (SEAG) and the recent replacement group ISAC who give necessary oversight to the research conducted in GPRD.

In conclusion, GPRD is highly valuable for stud-ies in drug safety and pharmacoepidemiology. Future developments will enable even higher standards of data collections and access to other data sets. The challenge is not only to further improve the granu-larity of information available in GPRD but also to enhance our methods for analysing these data.

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