History of DSFE

The Danish Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (DSFE) was established in 1994 on the initiative of Jesper Hallas. Pharmacoepidemiology is a discipline that applies epidemiological methods to investigate the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals, including intended and non-intended effects of drugs using real-world data. The DSFE aimed to provide an interdisciplinary forum for those interested in pharmacoepidemiology facilitating discussion and networking, and providing inspiration. The DSFE members are professionally diverse and include physicians, pharmacists, economists, sociologists, biologists, among others, employed at hospitals, primary care, pharmacies, research institutions, and industry.

In 1995, the DSFE published the first society newsletter, acknowledging the need for high quality observational studies to assess intended and non-intended effects of drugs. The newsletter highlighted the wealth of interlinkable Danish databases, and celebrated the establishment of several pharmacoepidemiological databases – the Register for Medicinal Product Statistics, the Odense University Pharmacoepidemiological Database, in addition to other older population-based prescription registries (for example, the Prescription Database of North Jutland County). The establishment of these registers was considered a “first step” towards pharmacoepidemiological research in Denmark. Since the implementation of the prescription databasess, Danish researchers have since garnered a reputation as international leaders in pharmacoepidemiological research. (See references for links to the papers outlining the pharmacoepidemiology databases in Denmark (1-4)).

In 2000, an opinion piece published in Science magazine by journalist Lone Frank highlighted the possibilities of individual-level data linkage across the Danish registries (reference 5). In 2003, the Danish Medicines Authority granted permission for prescription data in the Register for Medicinal Product Statistics to be accessible for research purposes. Since their establishment, data from the Danish prescription registries has been used in observational studies yielding over 2000 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
The DSFE newsletters evolved into the DSFE website, providing a platform to announce national and international conferences related to pharmacoepidemiology, including abstract deadlines, conference highlights, PhD theses and defenses. The newsletters and websites routinely publish white papers guiding the conduct of pharmacoepidemiological studies in Denmark.

Today, the DSFE has an annual meeting focusing on specialized topics. The society is open to all and provides a forum and network for methodological discussion, experience, and education. The DSFE frequently holds courses exploring various pharmacoepidemiological concepts and methods. Annual membership costs 250 DKK.

Both current and previous DSFE members enjoy national and international success. These accolades include Presidency of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE), Fellows of ISPE (FISPE), and membership of the ISPE Board, ISPE Scientific Committees, NorPEN Board, and ISPOR. A link to present and previous DSFE board members can be found here.

1. Gaist D, Sorensen HT, Hallas J. The Danish Prescription Registries. Dan Med Bull. 1997;44(4):445-8.
2. Pottegard A, Schmidt SAJ, Wallach-Kildemoes H, Sorensen HT, Hallas J, Schmidt M. Data Resource Profile: The Danish National Prescription Registry. Int J Epidemiol. 2017;46(3):798-798f.
3. Johannesdottir SA, Horvath-Puho E, Ehrenstein V, Schmidt M, Pedersen L, Sorensen HT. Existing Data Sources for Clinical Epidemiology: The Danish National Database of Reimbursed Prescriptions. Clin Epidemiol. 2012;4:303-313.
4. Ehrenstein V, Antonsen S, Pedersen L. Existing Data Sources for Clinical Epidemiology: Aarhus University Prescription Database. Clin Epidemiol. 2010;2:273-279.
5. Frank L. Epidemiology. when an Entire Country is a Cohort. Science. 2000;287(5462):2398-9.