About Dr Barbara Mintzes

Dr Mintzes’ main area of research is pharmaceutical policy, and especially policies that support quality use of medicines. She has studied the effects of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and of physician-directed promotion on prescribing and use of medicines. Key areas of interest are commercial influences on scientific evidence and how to improve oversight of medication safety. She is also involved in research on medicine use in pregnancy and more generally pharmaceuticals and women’s health.

Dr Mintzes has a doctorate in Health Care and Epidemiology and was Associate Professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada prior to joining the University of Sydney in April 2015. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney. Her main areas of expertise are in systematic review of clinical trial evidence on the beneficial and harmful effects of medicines, public health, pharmaceutical policy analysis, medicine safety and quality use of medicines.

Dr Mintzes is best known for her empirical research on the effects of direct-to-consumer advertising on prescribing and medicine use. Another key research area is on commercial influences on scientific evidence and public health. She is currently involved in research on pharmaceutical industry sponsorship of health professionals and patient groups in Australia. A related interest is on overdiagnosis, including the role of commercial influences on diagnostic criteria and on treatment thresholds.

Dr Mintzes is involved in several Cochrane systematic reviews and teaches critical appraisal and systematic review methods. She was a lead member of an international WHO and Health Action International (HAI) project that involved developing an educational manual on drug promotion, for pharmacy and medical students.

Dr Mintzes maintains strong community engagement, having worked for many years with women's health and consumer groups. She co-authored the book "Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals" with Ray Moynihan, published in 2010, and is the author of 90 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr Mintzes works with a research group at the Charles Perkins Centre that is headed by Dr Lisa Bero with a focus on commercial influences on scientific evidence and evidence synthesis.

Selected publications

Pharmaceutical policy - drug promotion
• Habibi R, Guénette L, Lexchin J, Reynolds E, Wiktorowicz M, Mintzes, B. Regulating information or allowing deception? Pharmaceutical sales visits in Canada, France and the United States. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. Winter 2016. [In Press] Accepted: May 2, 2016
• Lexchin J, Mintzes B. A compromise too far: a review of Canadian cases of direct-to-consumer advertising regulation. Int J Risk Safety Med 2014;26:213-225.
Mintzes B, Lexchin J, Sutherland J, et al. Pharmaceutical sales representatives and patient safety: a comparative prospective study of information quality in Canada, France and the United States. J Gen Intern Med 2013;28(10):1368-1375.
Mintzes B. Advertising of prescription-only medicines to the public: does evidence of benefit counterbalance harm? Annual Reviews of Public Health 2012;33:259-277.

Pharmaceutical policy - general
• Cosgrove L, Vannoy S, Mintzes B, Shaughnessy A. Under the influence: The interplay among industry, publishing, and drug regulation. Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance. 2016. 2016;23(5):257-79.
Mintzes B, Lexchin J, Quintano AS. Clinical trial transparency: many gains but access to evidence for new medicines remains imperfect. British Medical Bulletin 2015; 116 (1): 43-53.
Mintzes B. When drugs don't make it to market. BMJ 2015;350:h2852.

Population-based studies of medicine use
• Smolina K, Mintzes B, Hanley G, Oberlander TF, Morgan S. The association between domperidone and ventricular arrhythmia in the postpartum period. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 2016; doi: 10.1002/pds.4035
• Smolina K, Morgan S, Hanley G, Oberlander TF, Mintzes B. Large increase in domperidone use postpartum in British Columbia. CMAJ Open 2016;4(1):e13-e19.
• Morgan S, Gladstone E, Weymann D, Pratt B, Raymond C, Mintzes B. Sex differences in the risk of receiving potentially inappropriate prescriptions among older adults. Age & Ageing 2016; 0:1-8.
• Hanley G, Mintzes B. Patterns of psychotropic medicine use in pregnancy in the United States from 2006 to 2011 among women with private insurance. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014; 14: 242