UCL School of Pharmacy


Pharmacoepidemiology and Medication Safety

Researchers in the Pharmacoepidemiology and Medication Safety cluster aim to improve the safety and benefits of the use of medicines in practice.

We also recognise that medicines use should be viewed in the context of wider policy and health agendas.

These contexts inform our research programme and the design and execution of individual projects. Our work informs and influences policies to improve professional practice and the use of medicines.

Research focus areas

Current research focus areas include:

  • Health and use of medicines using healthcare databases from the perspectives of older and younger people and those with long-term conditions, focusing on areas such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease,  Alzheimer's disease, mental health, cancer, pregnancy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Methodological research in pharmacoepidemiology and medication safety.
  • Epidemiological research to identify the incidence, causes and risk factors for adverse drug reactions and medication errors.
  • Mixed methods of quantitative and qualitative research into the causes of adverse drug reactions and medication errors.
  • Development and evaluation of interventions to improve medication safety, including technological and human factors solutions. 
  • Influencing policy in improving medication safety and public health.
  • Training the next generation of researchers in pharmacoepidemiology and medication safety.

Research methods

Members of the cluster have expertise in many quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, epidemiology and pharmacoepidemiology, medication error research, public health, medical statistics, clinical applications of formulation science, medication management and health services research.

Research settings and collaboration

Research is undertaken in a wide range of settings: tertiary, secondary and primary care, community pharmacies, social care settings and with patients in their own homes. Collaboration with researchers in complementary disciplines, healthcare professionals, voluntary and special interest organisations and representatives of patients and the public is a feature of almost all our projects. These extend to partnerships within UCL, across London, the UK and internationally. 

Since joining UCL in 2012, a number of new research collaborations have been established that have led to the development of bids for research and successful projects. For example, we are currently closely collaborating with PharmAlliance, UCL Institute of Digital Health, the Centre for Medication Safety and Service Quality at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and the Centre for Medicines Optimisation Research & Education at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

REF 2021 Impact Case Study

Highlighting the health issues of high-sodium medicines

Non-Proprietary Medicine Prescription Bottle and Spilled Pills
Research by UCL and the University of Dundee revealed long-term health risks of sodium-containing medications, including stroke and heart attack, leading to changes in labelling and prescriptions.

Helping reduce medication errors and improve patient wellbeing 

 Package of medicine in tablet and pills form, in various colors

Professor Bryony Dean Franklin’s research into medication errors and strategies to prevent them has led to changes in clinical practice, guidelines and policy, both locally and nationally. 


The cluster is keen to support all its researchers, from PhD students through to senior research staff. We arrange a range of seminar activities: 

  • A forum for PhD students to share experiences and ideas.
  • Special discussion events focusing on topics or calls that are of interest across the cluster membership. These enable identification of areas of complementary perspectives and expertise in formulating and addressing research questions.
  • Participation in a research department seminar programme with invited internal and external experts.


Cluster members are also active in teaching in the school (MPharm, MSc and PhD) as well as contributing to many outside programmes. Our teaching reflects and enables sharing of our research expertise with the healthcare professionals of the future. Potential PhD students are encouraged to contact individual academic staff for further information.

Cluster Members

Recent Papers