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Ministry of Health

PharmaNet Data Requests

PharmaNet is the province wide network that links all B.C. pharmacies to a central set of data systems. Every prescription dispensed in B.C. is entered into PharmaNet. PharmaNet users include community pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, emergency departments, the College of Pharmacists of B.C., the College of Physicians & Surgeons of B.C. and medical practices.

Academic research requests for PharmaNet data are approved by the Data Stewardship Committee. Starting December 2012, Population Data BC began facilitating PharmaNet data access requests using the harmonized data access request form. Please visit the Population Data BC website to download the application form and contact the Research Liaison Unit to receive assistance. Preparation of the application takes time, thoughtful planning, and attention to detail. A well prepared application package is an important step to ensure timely access to requested PharmaNet data.

The Process

Obtaining Cost Estimates

Please contact the Data Stewardship Secretariat directly for cost estimates of PharmaNet data in support of your grant application. Please complete the Request for Estimate form and submit to the secretariat.

Completing the Data Access Request

The researcher works with Population Data BC staff in completing the data access request and preparing the application package.

Submission to the Ministry

Population Data BC, on behalf of the researcher, submits the application package to the Data Stewardship Secretariat at the Ministry of Health for review and approval.

In-depth Review

The secretariat staff reviews for appropriate use of the data according to legislation and policy. Part of the review process may include follow-up clarification questions to the researcher.

The secretariat staff provides an estimate to researchers at this stage.

When the in-depth review is complete, the application package is submitted to the Data Stewardship Committee for decision on the next available meeting agenda.

Data Stewardship Committee Decision and Notification

The Data Stewardship Committee will make a decision to:

  • Approve the application;
  • Reject the application; or
  • Table the application and request further information from the researcher.

The secretariat staff sends a decision letter to the researcher, with copies to Population Data BC and all relevant data stewards.

Data Preparation and Delivery

The following steps are involved post approval but prior to data preparation:

  • Cost estimate signed by the researcher, if applicable.
  • Relevant cohort information submitted by Population Data BC to the secretariat, if applicable.

PharmaNet data will then be released to the researcher per the specifications set out in the data access request and approval letter.

Amendments to PharmaNet Data Access Requests (if applicable)

After an application has been approved, occasionally a researcher may decide to request one or more amendments to the project. Some examples for amendment requests are:

  • Data retention extension.
  • Addition of graduate student.
  • Additional years of data.
  • Additional data files/fields.

For amendments to projects that had components involving Population Data BC data holdings, Population Data BC will assist researchers in the amendment application process. These amendment applications are submitted to all data stewards that have approved the original application.

For amendments to projects that had no previous Population Data BC involvement, the secretariat staff will assist researchers in the amendment application process directly.

All PharmaNet research amendments require Data Stewardship Committee approval.

Research Outputs

All written materials intended for public dissemination as an outcome of the research project must be submitted to the ministry, via Population Data BC (or directly to the data stewardship secretariat if the project had no previous Population Data BC involvement), for review and comment prior to release. The ministry is committed to providing feedback/comments within 45 business days of submission.

Project Closure

Upon completion of the research, Population Data BC or the secretariat staff will work with researchers to ensure data destruction compliance, and necessary project closure documents are completed and submitted to the ministry.