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Introduction: After medicines have been subsidised in Australia we know little about their use in routine clinical practice, impact on resource utilisation, effectiveness or safety. Routinely collected administrative health data are available to address these issues in large population-based pharmacoepidemiological studies. By bringing together cross-jurisdictional data collections that link drug exposure to real-world outcomes, this research programme aims to evaluate the use and impact of cancer medicines in a subset of elderly Australians in the real-world clinical setting. Methods and analysis: This ongoing research programme involves a series of retrospective cohort studies of Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) clients. The study population includes 104 635 veterans who reside in New South Wales, Australia, and were aged 65 years and over as of 1 July 2004. We will investigate trends in cancer medicines use according to cancer type and other sociodemographic characteristics as well as predictors of the initiation of cancer medicines and other treatment modalities, survival and adverse outcomes among patients with cancer. The programme is underpinned by the linkage of eight health administrative databases under the custodianship of the DVA and the New South Wales Ministry of Health, including cancer notifications, medicines dispensing data, hospitalisation data and health services data. The cancer notifications database is available from 1994 with all other databases available from 2005 onwards. Ethics and dissemination: Ethics approval has been granted by the DVA and New South Wales Population and Health Service Research Ethics Committees. Results: Results will be reported in peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and policy forums. The programme has high translational potential, providing invaluable evidence about cancer medicines in an elderly population who are underrepresented in clinical trials.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date