Drug Safety
Health Services Research

Applied Health Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s
30 Bond Street
Toronto ON M5B 1W8

Area of Research

Tara Gomes is an epidemiologist whose research interests include pharmacoepidemiology, drug safety and effectiveness, and drug policy research. She is principal investigator of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN), a collaboration of researchers across the province working to generate relevant research to inform policy decisions across Ontario and Canada.

Research Challenge

To make informed drug policy decisions, policymakers need relevant, timely evidence. Research needs to answer questions about the safety and effectiveness of drugs currently used in the health care system, as well as how current policies affect the way drugs are used. Because the health care system has a limited budget and medications are a large component of health care costs, answers to these questions help policymakers make decisions about how to reimburse medications and how drugs should be administered, both to ensure positive patient health outcomes and to reduce medication-related costs.

Proposed Solution

Gomes works closely with policymakers in the Ontario government to formulate relevant research questions that can inform policy decisions. She then uses large administrative databases to investigate these questions, accessing information about how particular medications are being used in the general population and the health outcomes associated with their use. Her team has developed rapid analytical techniques that enable them to answer some of these research questions within weeks.

Impact To Date

Gomes has published nearly 200 peer reviewed articles and 100 reports that have enabled evidence-informed policy decisions and influenced clinical practice. Notably, one of her studies investigated the impact of limiting quantities of blood glucose test strips to align with best practice, which informed the introduction of a quantity limit policy in Ontario in 2013 and was subsequently introduced across most provinces and territories in Canada. It is estimated that this has saved government $50 million annually. Gomes has also conducted several studies on opioid use and opioid-related harm, which have been used to inform policies within Canada and the United States that aim to prevent unintended consequences of opioid use.


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