Conference program

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Keynote speakers

Prof. Jesper Hallas
Jesper Hallas graduated as an MD from University of Copenhagen in 1984. He has a background in clinical medicine as a specialist in internal medicine, medical gastroenterology and clinical pharmacology. Jesper established the first pharmacoepidemiological prescription database in Denmark, OPED, based on reimbursed prescriptions from Funen County in Denmark (1990 and onwards). He was one of the co-founders of the Danish Society of Pharmacoepidemiology and became its first president in 1994. Since 2004, Jesper has been a professor of clinical pharmacology at University of Southern Denmark, the first four years also filling a position as consultant in internal medicine at Odense University Hospital. He has been an ISPE member for about 20 years and has served ISPE in a number of ways, among others as program chair for the annual meeting in Copenhagen in 2008, as chair of the Public Policy Committee in 2011-14 and as president 2017-18. Jesper has used the OPED database for developing a variety of analytic templates and principles, such as the symmetry analysis, the waiting time distribution and the principles underlying the individual-level drug use statistics He has more than 270 publications within the fields of clinical medicine, clinical epidemiology and pharmacoepidemiology.

Dr. Stephen B. Soumerai
Stephen B. Soumerai is Professor of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, where he focuses on pharmaceutical outcomes, quality of health care studies and health policy. He also co-chaired the Statistics and Evaluative Sciences concentration within Harvard University’s health policy Ph.D. program for over 20 years, and continues as an active faculty member in the concentration. Dr. Soumerai has led or been a member of numerous NIH and international peer review committees. Dr. Soumerai is the recipient of many honors including numerous article of the year awards from national and international scientific societies, named lectureships, and the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard University.

Dr. Soumerai has published more than 250 original scientific articles in leading scientific journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. He is well known for his work on the impacts of health policies and methods to improve the quality of medical practice. His recent research has focused on cost-related underuse of medications; as well as the impacts of drug coverage, FDA warnings and cost-containment policies on access to effective medications, quality and costs of care and clinical outcomes among vulnerable populations. He frequently advises Congress, state legislatures, and federal and international agencies on drug cost containment, coverage and quality-of-care policies, and evidence-based health policy. His research has been used extensively to support expanded economic access to medications in Medicaid and Medicare.

Dr. Soumerai’s work also focuses on common biases in research designs, the unreliability of health research, and improving the evidence base for health policies. Dr. Soumerai has published numerous op-eds in leading news outlets, including Vox News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, and Stat News on subjects including elimination of coverage gaps in the Medicare drug benefit, adverse consequences of rushed nationwide implementation of health IT, undertreatment of pain, required drug coverage in Massachusetts health reform plans, state censorship of health research, poor efficacy of pay-for-performance policies, and arbitrary economic penalties for hospital readmissions.

Prof. Ian C. K. Wong
Professor Ian Wong is jointly appointed by the University of Hong Kong and UCL School of Pharmacy in London. He is the Co-Director of the Centre for Safe Medication Practice and Research at the HKU and Head of Research Department of Practice and Policy at UCL School of Pharmacy. Prior to his current appointment, Professor Wong was the Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy at the University of Hong Kong, (2011 and 2015) and the Founding Director of the Centre for Paediatric Pharmacy Research at The School of Pharmacy, UCL Institute of Child Health, University of London and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (2002—2011).

A recipient of a UK Department of Health Public Health Career Scientist Award in 2002, Professor Wong is the only pharmacist to date to have received such an award in the UK. He also received the Chemist and Druggist Pharmacy Practice Research Medal in 2004 for his research in paediatric medication pharmacoepidemiology. In recognition of his work in paediatric medicines research, Professor Wong was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2011, and Fellowship of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in 2012.

Professor Wong has been awarded approximately £5 million in research grants as the principal applicant and approximately £33 million as a co-applicant from the UK Medical Research Council, UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, UK Economic and Science Research Council, Department of Health in England, the European Commission, Hong Kong Government Research Grant Council, Hong Kong Health and Medical Research Fund and pharmaceutical industry. He was also advisor to the Department of Health in England, World Health Organisation, European Medicines Agency and the pharmaceutical industry.

Professor Wong qualified as a pharmacist in 1992 and worked at the former Medicines Control Agency (Regulatory Authority) in the Yellow Card system between 1992 and 1993. His research career in medication safety began when he took up a research pharmacist post at the David Lewis Centre for Epilepsy to investigate the safety of new antiepileptic drugs between 1994 and 1997. Professor Wong received his PhD from Manchester Medical School in 1998 for his work at the David Lewis Centre. His work in pharmacoepidemiology has been published in reputable journals such as JAMA, JAMA Internal Medicine, JAMA Psychiatry and BMJ.