Establishment of the nationwide Norwegian Prescription Database (NorPD) – new opportunities for research in pharmacoepidemiology in Norway

Kari Furu


Objectives: To give an overview of the data collection and content of the Norwegian Prescription Database (NorPD). In addition, key figures and results from different studies using data from NorPD are presented. Methods: From 1st January 2004 the Norwegian Institute of Public Health receives monthly data on prescriptions dispensed and collected at all Norwegian pharmacies. Results: Overall, during the four year period (2004-2007) over 4.2 million unique individuals have been recorded in NorPD with at least one prescription medication dispensed from a pharmacy. In each year about two-third of the entire Norwegian population had at least one prescription dispensed, 75% of the women and 61% of the men. The age-specific prevalence was lowest in both genders in those aged 10-14 years. Among 0-17 years old children and adolescents 45% had one or more prescriptions issued in 2007. About 30% of the girls and 38% of the boys had a prescription issued before they were 1 year old. About 90% of individuals aged 70 years and older received prescription medications. Conclusion: NorPD covers the entire nation, 4.75 million inhabitants, and is a valid and reliable data source for studying use of prescription drugs. New areas for pharmacoepidemiological research in Norway are made possible with NorPD, like doing longitudinal studies and record-linkage studies with health surveys and other registers in Norway. It also clearly offers a sound basis of knowledge for national decisionmaking in the field of drug utilisation.

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