What is CNODES

Since its creation in 2011, the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES) has built an extensive network of over 100 scientists, including pharmacoepidemiologists, clinicians, statisticians, data analysts and other researchers to ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs for Canadians. By establishing partnerships and negotiating data access with each province, CNODES studies have access to administrative healthcare data on millions of medication users across the country as well as internationally: the UK CPRD and the US MarketScan. CNODES is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR, Grant #DSE – 146021).

The network includes four main teams: Database, Methods, Training and Knowledge Translation. In addition to answering drug safety queries from Canadian regulators, these teams contribute to strengthening Canadian research capacity through their initiatives and projects. Researchers and trainees in the Methods Team have collaborated to make significant methodological advances in the field of pharmacoepidemiology. Meanwhile, CNODES members have also worked together to develop processes, guides and protocols which standardize the research process across the network and improve efficiency in answering incoming queries on drug safety and effectiveness.

Our Work

Our  studies carried out in response to queries from our government partners have examined widely-used drugs, such as drugs for the treatment of diabetes, for gastrointestinal conditions and for pain killers, among many others. The results of these studies have important public health implications and have been published in highly ranked peer-reviewed international journals, benefitting not only Canadians, but patients worldwide. Read more about our work on the Projects page.


Despite Canada’s extensive drug approval process, an estimated 150,000 Canadians are hospitalized and 10,000 die yearly from adverse drug reactions to prescription drugs. Adverse drug effects were found to account for 12% of emergency department visits. In Canada, the majority of studies on drug safety and effectiveness in the marketplace have been conducted as individual initiatives at the provincial level. As these studies are often based on relatively small populations, they are limited in what they can achieve – especially when looking for rare serious adverse events, for the study of drugs used to treat infrequent diseases, or for the study of the effects of newly introduced drugs.

With this in mind, CNODES was created as a research team of the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network (DSEN).  As a branch of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, DSEN’s research teams conduct studies in a timely manner to provide evidence on drug safety and effectiveness to policy-makers, healthcare providers, regulators, and patients.

CNODES Brochure

Click here to download the CNODES promotional brochure.