Nordic PharmacoEpidemiological Network
NorPEN is a network of researchers with the purpose of facilitating research within the field of pharmacoepidemiology in the Nordic countries.
NorPEN was created in 2008 as a network of ten pharmacoepidemiology research groups from the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) and was initially funded by Nordforsk. NordForsk is an organisation under the Nordic Council of Ministers that provides funding for and facilitates Nordic cooperation on research and research infrastructure.
The research groups, which initiated and founded NorPEN included researchers from the Nordic School of Public Health, Gothenburg Sweden, the National Board of Health and Welfare, Stockholm Sweden, the Centre for Pharmacoepidemiology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, the University of Southern Denmark, Denmark, the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, the Kuopio Research Center of Geriatric Care, University of Eastern Finland, previously Kuopio University, Kuopio, Finland, the Research Department, the Social Insurance Institution, Kela, Helsinki, Finland, the Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Division of Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway, the Faculty of Pharmacy & Centre of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland and the Directorate of Health, Reykjavík, Iceland
In 2013 the steering group of NorPEN decided to open up the network to include other academic research groups in universities, public health institutions or public administration than those initially participating. The opening up also included a deeper collaboration with the national Nordic pharmacoepidemiological societies, the national register holders and the public authorities. An executive committee representing the research groups, national societies and national registers was formed to shape the new forms of NorPEN.
Since 2009 NorPEN has organized annual/bi-annual 1-2 day meetings held in each of the Nordic countries, and combining scientific and educational elements. The scientific meetings are a core activity of the NorPEN and each of the participating research groups have taken part in organizing the meetings. The meetings have covered different aspects of pharmacoepidemiology, such as: research using prescription medicine registers, drug use in pregnancy, psychotropic drugs and drug use among older people, medicine use in children, drug exposure and prescribing quality, drug safety and effectiveness using pharmacoepidemiological databases. In connection with the scientific meetings, specific workshops for PhD-students and courses are arranged. At the meeting in 2014, a course on causal graphs (DAGs) was given.
NorPEN members have since the start of NorPEN conducted collaborative research projects based on data from all the Nordic countries and several scientific publications have derived from the network. Inter-Nordic research collaborations have been established, such as “The Nordic study group on medications with SSRI during pregnancy”, the “ADHD Nordic study group” and “A Nordic cohort of pregnant women in opioid maintenance treatment during pregnancy”.
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