Real-World Evidence in Pharmacoepidemiology

A practical course using Electronic Health Records

Overview - Practical Pharmacoepidemiology

*We are working on delivering this course virtually in 2021 - please register your interest. You may also wish to view details of our upcoming short course on Pharmacoepidemiology in the era of COVID-19*

The course is designed for students with a basic grounding in epidemiological methods and concepts and/or some prior knowledge of pharmacoepidemiology. During this course students will:

  • Develop their knowledge of pharmacoepidemiological concepts and methods, with a particular focus on database studies.
  • Gain practical experience of testing study feasibility and performing analyses in STATA, using primary care data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) (prior experience of STATA not required). 
  • Gain an understanding of biases and other sources of error that can occur in pharmacoepidemiology studies, and strategies to avoid them.

Who should apply?

Personnel concerned with the safe use of medicines, particularly in developed countries, especially those working in:

  • The pharmaceutical industry who are involved in drug development, licensing or surveillance
  • Regulatory bodies who are involved in licensing & surveillance
  • Academics interested in evaluating the effects of drugs
  • The health service who are involved in drug policy/decision making

Applicants will normally have a science, biomedical or biostatistical background, hold a second class honours degree of a United Kingdom university (or equivalent) in a science, medical, statistical or related subject and will have some post-graduate experience in the area of pharamacoepidemiology, including an understanding of methodological concepts such as bias and confounding. It is not expected that applicants will actually be conducting pharmacoepidemiology studies.

Up to 30 participants will be accepted.


The course has been approved by the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom for 20 Category 1 (external) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits.

Brexit and advice for EU nationals

Whatever the outcome of the ongoing Brexit process, students from the EU are very welcome at LSHTM and we would strongly encourage applications from EU nationals to this course.

Links to related LSHTM advice:

Course objectives
Course objectives - Practical Pharmacoepidemiology

Course Content

  • Overview of study designs for pharmacoepidemiology
  • Measurements in pharamacoepidemiology - including outcomes, exposures, co-variates and issues of validation
  • The practicalities of study design and subsequent feasibility testing
  • Overview of data resources for pharmacoepidemiology & factors covering the choice of database
  • Overview of methods for handling bias and confounding - including matching, regression models and propensity scores
  • The practicalities of data analysis using data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)
  • Overview of clinical trials in pharmacoepidemiology, including real world randomisation
  • Use of registries in pharmacoepidemiology
  • Meta-analysis - overview and practical application
  • Overview of methods for dealing with missing data in pharmacoepidemiology studies
  • Appraisal of published pharmacoepidemiology papers

Teaching Methods

The course will be delivered in the form of lectures, focused discussions and tutor-led computer practical classes.

Teaching Faculty

Professor Krishnan Bhaskaran (LSHTM)

Professor Ian Douglas (LSHTM)

Dr. Harriet Forbes (LSHTM)

Dr. James Galloway (King’s College London)

Dr. John Gregson (LSHTM)

Dr. Susana Perez Gutthann (RTI Health Solutions)

Professor Neil Pearce (LSHTM)

Dr. Christopher Rentsch (LSHTM/US Dept of Veterans Affairs)

Professor Liam Smeeth (LSHTM)

Professor Tjeerd van Staa (University of Manchester)

Helen Strongman (LSHTM)

Dr. Kevin Wing (LSHTM)

Clinical Practice Research Database (CPRD) Research Team

How to apply
How to apply - Practical Pharmacoepidemiology

* This course will not run in 2020 - please register your interest for 2021*

Please read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.

Short courses - visas, accommodation, disclaimer


The student is responsible for obtaining any visa or other permissions to attend the course, and is encouraged to start the application process as early as possible as obtaining a visa for the UK can sometimes take a long time. The Short Courses team can provide supporting documentation if requested.

Accommodation and meals

A list of hotels located in the vicinity of LSHTM, along with further resources for short term accommodation, can be found on our accommodation pages. Tea and coffee will be provided during breaks. Lunch vouchers for the LSHTM canteen will also be available.

Evening meals are not catered for at LSHTM, however there is a large choice of restaurants, cafés and shops nearby.

Important information

Please note:

  • If you have been offered a place on the course you will not be able to register without bringing formal ID (Passport) and without having obtained the correct visa if required.
  • It is essential that you read the current visa requirements for short course students.
  • LSHTM may cancel courses two weeks before the first day of the course if numbers prove insufficient.  In those circumstances, course fees will be refunded.
  • LSHTM cannot accept responsibility for accommodation, travel and other losses incurred as a result of the course being cancelled.