Ontario pharmacy research collaborative wins major funding from Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

The Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network (OPEN) awarded 2 million in funding to advance work in medication management

TORONTO, February 13, 2018 – Medications can improve health and save lives, but they are not without risk. With prescription medication in Ontario costing $10.6 billion per year, new strategies to help patients and healthcare providers choose, use, and remove medications are critical to providing better care and ensuring financial sustainability of the public system.

“Drug therapy problems are common, harmful, and many are preventable,” said Nancy Waite, professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy and co-lead of the newly funded OPEN work.  “These problems are also an increasing burden on our healthcare system. Our goal at OPEN is to find new strategies to improve medication management, enhance patient care and help inform policy decisions.”

OPEN was founded in 2013 and is co-led by experts at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. OPEN is one of Canada’s leading collaborative networks dedicated to medication management with more than 50 researchers and over 100 student and trainee members. 

The current funding of over 2 million was awarded through the MOHLTC’s Health System Research Fund (HSRF) and will support a suite of new research projects that build on previous OPEN research findings. These new projects include:

  • Development of community pharmacies as connected health hubs – led by Lisa McCarthy, assistant professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto and clinician scientist at Women’s College Hospital; Sherilyn Houle, assistant professor, University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy
  • Community and healthcare provider-supported de-prescribing – led by Barbara Farrell, PharmD, clinical scientist from the Bruyère Research Institute and Dee Mangin, professor, McMaster University DeGroote School of Medicine
  • Development of the first provincial data atlas describing delivery of medication management services including changes over time – led by Suzanne Cadarette, associate professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto
  • Incorporating sex, gender and vulnerable populations analyses – led by Martin Cooke, associate professor, University of Waterloo School of Public Health and Health Systems and Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, will ensure OPEN research projects include a focus on sex, gender and vulnerable populations where relevant

“Engaging patients and communities is a priority for these new initiatives and the next phase of our work,” said Lisa Dolovich, professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto and co-lead of the newly funded OPEN work. “The quality and diversity of our researchers will allow us to build a more informed picture of medication management in Ontario and identify where further improvements are needed.”

As with previous OPEN projects, the findings generated by of this new research are intended to benefit knowledge users like policy makers, pharmacists, family physicians, and other allied healthcare providers.

About the Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network (OPEN)

OPEN is a multi-institutional and interdisciplinary research program, comprised of academic researchers from leading Ontario institutions, including University of Waterloo, McMaster University, University of Toronto, Women’s College Hospital, Bruyère Research Institute, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Our goal is to provide continuous high-quality evidence that can be used by government, patients and healthcare providers to improve healthcare practice, cost-effectiveness of services, and the quality of healthcare for patients. We research current and emerging medication services, processes and policies from the perspectives of pharmacists, patients, physicians, government policy and more.

For more information:

Kate Richards
Director, Communications
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto
(416) 978-7117
kate.richards@utoronto.ca