Health Canada & Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences - Use of Real World Data/Evidence to Inform Regulatory Decision Making


  • Real World Data Workshop Group CSPS/Health Canada



Real world data (RWD) and real world evidence (RWE) are playing increasing roles in health-care decisions. Real world data are routinely employed to support reimbursement and coverage decisions for drugs and devices. More recently, clinical trials incorporating pragmatic designs and observational studies are considered to supplement traditional clinical trials (e.g., randomized clinical trials). Regulatory agencies and large co-operative groups including academia and industry are exploring whether leveraging big databases such as electronic medical records and claims databases can be used to garner clinical insights extending beyond those gained from randomized controlled studies. Whether RWE can ultimately replace or improve traditional clinical trials is the big question.

The workshop held on December 3, 2019 at Health Canada included presenters from regulatory agencies, industry and academia. Health Canada, US FDA and European Medicine Agency presented current thinking, draft frameworks and guidance available in the public domain. While the three agencies might be at different stages of utilizing RWE for regulatory decision making, the consensus is not whether RWE would be used but when and how it can be incorporated into regulatory decision making while maintaining a high evidentiary bar.

The complexity of data sourcing, curating databases, aligning on common data models, illustrated by high-profile work conducted as part of Sentinel, DSEN, OHDSI and Duke-Margolis initiatives, was presented and discussed during the workshop, creating great learning opportunities for the attendees. The design and analysis of RWE studies were compared and contrasted to those of RCTs. While there are gaps, they are closing quickly as novel analytical methods are employed and innovative ways of curating data, including natural language processing and artificial intelligence, are explored.


This proceeding contains summaries of information presented by the speakers, including current highlights about the use of RWE in regulatory decision making. In the world where the uptake of “big data” in everyday life is happening at unprecedented speed, we can expect RWE to be a fast-moving area and with the potential for big impact in health-care decision making in the years to come.


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How to Cite

CSPS/Health Canada, R. W. D. W. G. (2020). Health Canada & Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences - Use of Real World Data/Evidence to Inform Regulatory Decision Making. Journal of Pharmacy &Amp; Pharmaceutical Sciences, 23(1), 1s–47s.