Invitation Inaugural Lecture dr. R.M.C. Herings

Pharmacoepidemiology and healthcare optimization: Medicines, healthcare and data. Tuesday June 7th 2022


The rector magnificus of Vrije Universiteit and Board of Directors of Amsterdam UMC cordially invite you to join the public hearing of the College of Deans, where dr. R.M.C. Herings, appointed due to STIZON as endowed professor Epidemiology and Data Science, aspires to accept the professorship with a lecture titled:

Pharmacoepidemiology and healthcare optimization:
Medicines, healthcare and data

To be held at:
Tuesday June 7th 2022,
at exactly 15:45 (CET), at the university’s auditorium,
De Boelelaan 1105.

Upon closure of the inaugural lecture, a reception will be held, in line with the applicable (COVID-19) rules on that date.

Professors will be invited to be part of the cortege. They are expected to be present at Forumzaal (room 2D-02) 15 minutes prior to the start of the inaugural lecture. It is greatly appreciated if attending professors wear their university’s academic robe.

The VU buildings are located around a central campus square. The VU campus is excellently accessible through the proximity of the Amsterdam Zuid station, Noord/Zuidlijn and various metro- and tramlines. Information on car parking is available at:

For the official invitation click here.

Twenty-year trends in the use of anti-seizure medication among pregnant women in the Netherlands


Anti-seizure medications (ASMs) are used to treat conditions such as epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Some of these drugs are associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations and adverse developmental outcomes. Therefore, PHARMO Institute’s Eline Houben, along with fellow researchers, examined trends in use of ASMs among pregnant women in the Netherlands, according to medication safety profile. The medication safety profiles were categorized as safests ASMs, ASMs of uncertain risk, and ASMs with higher risk. Additionally, switching patterns were assessed.

In total, 671,709 pregnancies among 446,169 women were selected from the PHARMO Perinatal Research Network between 1999 and 2019. 2405 (3.6 per 1000) of those women were ASM-exposed. Over the study period, a significant increase was observed for use of known safest ASMs (0.7-18.0 per 10,000 pregnancies) as well as for those with uncertain risk (5.3-13.4 per 10,000 pregnancies). Use of ASMs with higher risk of congenital malformations decreased significantly (24.8-14.5 per 10,000 pregnancies), except for topiramate (0-6.7 per 10,000 pregnancies). Switches between ASM safety risk categories before and during pregnancy were uncommon; women rather discontinued treatment or switched within the same category.

This study showed that there has been an increase in use of known safest ASMs among pregnant women, together with a trend toward newer ASMs with uncertain risk over the last two decades. Only a small proportion of women switched to a safer alternative before or during pregnancy, which altogether highlights the need for an expansion of ASM risk knowledge and communication to healthcare providers and women of reproductive age to improve preconception counselling.

The full article can be read using this link: Twenty-year trends in the use of anti-seizure medication among pregnant women in the Netherlands – PubMed (


56th Annual Meeting of the European Diabetes Epidemiology Group (EDEG) in Hersonissos, Greece 2-5 April 2022


The 56th EDEG annual meeting took place in Hersonissos from 2nd  to 5th  of April. The EDEG leads and facilitates epidemiological research in diabetes, its risk factors and complications. The annual meeting and its impressive setting provided a unique meeting place for the exchange of high quality research highlights and effective networking. It was the first time that researchers from the PHARMO Institute attended this meeting, and the first conference abroad that was attended in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three posters were presented that made use of the DIAMANT cohort. The DIAMANT cohort is a population-based, dynamic, prospective cohort of persons with diabetes, based on real world data from the electronic general practitioner information systems, and is an initiative from researchers from the PHARMO Institute and Amsterdam UMC. In the first presentation, the cohort profile of DIAMANT was presented. The second presentation was about the trends in prevalence of diabetes in the period 2004 to 2019 in the Netherlands. In the third presentation, a comparison of diabetes care outcomes of the centrally organized Hoorn care system with regular care by general practitioners was presented.

We look back on a memorable and inspiring meeting, where we could meet friends and colleagues in person. Next year, the meeting will be organized in the Netherlands and we plan to be present again.  Please contact us to obtain the posters presented at the meeting.




Annual Report


Each year we develop our annual report to inform the healthcare providers that contribute to the PHARMO Data Network on our work the previous year. The report describes highlights of 2021 like recently initiated collaborations with external partners, such as the “Profiling Parkinson’s disease” ProPark Consortium and “A Personalized Medicine Approach for Alzheimer’s Disease” ABOARD project, and “Vaccine monitoring Collaboration for Europe” VAC4EU. Further, it highlights the important role our Institute served to gain insights into the COVID-19 pandemic, amongst others through the involvement in an early warning system and research on COVID-19-related adverse events. Finally, within our annual report we provide insight an overview of our expertise and statistics of our research and collaborations.

Statistics of performed research

Between 2012 and 2021, PHARMO has written 207 scientific reports, with a yearly average of 21 reports. In 2021 24 reports were written, of which most were on cardiovascular diseases, followed by oncology. Further, between 2012 and 2021, 197 manuscripts have been published in international peer-reviewed journals on studies using data from the PHARMO Data Network, yielding an average of 20 publications per year. These manuscripts were either drafted by researchers of the PHARMO Institute or by academic researchers who had been granted access to data from the PHARMO Data Network for specific projects. The manuscripts from 2021 mainly focused on cardiovascular diseases and oncology. In total, 18 publications appeared in 2021.


At PHARMO we perform studies ourselves to support the pharmaceutical industry with their research questions, but we also collaborate with academia. In these academic collaborations we support the academic researcher with the design of the study and provide data from the PHARMO Data Network. In 2021 10% of our projects concerned collaborations with academic partners. Other clients (47%) included research institutes and Dutch and European authorities.

A lot of our studies are initiated upon request by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The EMA requests market authorisation holders to study the effectiveness and safety of pharmaceutical products in a real-world setting or to monitor the impact of risk minimisation measures. For these post-authorisation safety and efficacy studies (PASS/PAES) we collaborate with multiple expertise centres with access to data across Europe. In these multi-country studies, PHARMO can act as a coordinator or as one of the partners. In 2021 we have coordinated 7 European studies and partnered in 21  other studies.

We currently have established relationships with partners in the Nordics, UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. We are always looking to expand our network with local expertise centres that have access to data and extensive knowledge of their data and local healthcare system.

To increase transparency, we aim to register our multi-country studies in the EU PAS Register of the European Network of Centres for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance (ENCePP). An overview of previous and ongoing European projects can be found here: