Introduction

The General Practice Research Database (GPRD) is the world's largest computerised database of anonymised longitudinal patient records from general practice and a unique public health research tool, which has been used widely for pharmacoepidemiological studies. Several issues have threatened the viability of the database in recent years and in April 1999 responsibility for its management and financial control was transferred to the UK Medicines Control Agency (MCA). An overview of the database, the MCA's new services and future vision for the GPRD are presented in this chapter.

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