Centre for Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety



The Centre for Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety (CPDS) was established in 2004, and undertakes high quality research in pharmacoepidemiogy and improving safety in medicines use.

Research interests include:

  • the comparative safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology products;
  • drug policy and risk management programme evaluation;
  • epidemiological methods using electronic healthcare databases.

Our team has many years’ experience of working with large healthcare databases in the UK, particularly the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, to inform policy decisions on health interventions and the delivery and organisation of health care. We currently lead the major programme of work on medication safety in the NIHR Greater Manchester Primary Care Patient Safety Translational Research Centre. 



Our research

We combine academic rigour and practical relevance in our work, bridging the domains of research, theory, policy and practice.

We have developed a large and growing research portfolio with particular strengths in our work on:

  • drug utilisation studies;
  • evidence synthesis and health technology assessment;
  • pharmacoepidemiology using large electronic health record datasets (including CPRD) and disease registers;
  • identification and prevention of adverse drug events;
  • improving the appropriateness of prescribing, administration and adherence to medication;
  • adverse drug events and medication errors;
  • cohort and case control observational studies;
  • discrete choice experiments and best-worst scaling;
  • randomised controlled trials and meta-analysis;
  • safety culture and safety management systems;
  • validation of studies from primary care databases.

Our research funding comes from a range of sources including national/government agencies, the National Institute for Health Research, research charities (Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK), professional organisations (Royal Pharmaceutical Society and UK General Medical Council) and the pharmaceutical industry.

Research tools

Based on our extensive research, we have produced a series of downloadable tools for evaluating safety climate and culture.


Meet the team

Our team come from a wide range of backgrounds and expertise in pharmacy, biostatistics, psychology, epidemiology and health economics.

Several of our members have worked or continue to work in senior roles in the health service, and others are on secondment from academic appointments at other international universities.

Our members are fully embedded in the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) infrastructure across Manchester.

Professor Darren Ashcroft is the Director of the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre and Deputy Lead for the NIHR School for Primary Care Research at Manchester, and is involved in the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Dr Penny Lewis is also linked into the NIHR Greater Manchester Applied Research Collaboration.

Academic staff

Research staff

Postgraduate research

The Centre is based in the Drug Usage and Pharmacy Practice Group, which provides specialist and generic training in research, opening up a number of career paths.

Postgraduate research students are provided with high quality research facilities, scope for undertaking multidisciplinary and multi-method research, extensive networks and interactions with a range of health professionals and research sites, leading edge research expertise, and good quality mentoring and career development support.

More than 25 PhD students have successfully undertaken their studies in the pharmacy practice group and 10 former members have secured academic or senior research appointments.

If you are interested in pharmacy research and pursuing postgraduate training to PhD level please get in touch with the Director, Dr Darren Ashcroft, who will be pleased to discuss your own ideas for research.

Related links:


Contact us

If you’d like to know more about us, get in touch.

If you are interested in commissioning new research, accessing our published findings or finding out more about what we can do for you please contact us for advice, consultancy or information.

Email: sarah.bellis@manchester.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 4538

For postgraduate enquiries, please contact:

Email: pharmgrad@manchester.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)161 306 0259