Filipa Alves da Costa

Public Health & Medicines Use

Focuses on research, practice and policy related to public health interventions, encompassing health promotion, disease prevention and medicines optimization. Specific topics include access to medicines and health technologies, assessment of medicines effectiveness, medication adherence and medication review, early identification of suspects of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), health promotion through pharmacy-based interventions, and development of services to manage inappropriate use of medication.


The Public Health and Medicines group develops research on access to medicines and health technologies, including the asessment of their effectiveness, and aims to promote the responsible use of medicines through pharmacy-based or pharmacist-led services. We focus on 4 main areas of interest:

Health promotion

This line of research focuses on the expansion of the traditional scope of practice of pharmacy. Community pharmacies as structures embedded in the local communities are privileged points for creating synergies with existing structures and other healthcare professionals that may promote the adoption of healthy behaviours, including the promotion of physical activity, healthy nutrition and abstention from noxious substances such as tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.


The growing availability of oral antineoplastic medication has led to the need to develop effective solutions to closer monitor the use of medicines. This line of work focuses on the development of remote means of care provision, with a strong focus on pharmacist-led services, that may tackle difficulties in access to hospital care and present patients with solutions for managing toxicities while ensuring medication adherence is sustained. In the oncology area, we also focus on gathering information on the adoption of innovative technologies (e.g., pharmaceutical and/or digital) and on assessing their effectiveness in a real-world environment that may supplement information from clinical trials to inform regulatory decision and reimbursement re-evaluation.


Medication safety around NCDs

Our line of research stems from population ageing, and the often-associated development of comorbidities and institution of polypharmacy. We are focused on quantifying the inappropriate use of medicines among the elderly and the adverse cardiovascular impact inappropriate therapy may bring. The development of algorithm-based digital solutions to foster safer prescribing is a core component to this line of work. Pharmacovigilance, mostly by analysing avoidable adverse drug reactions, including in the renal area, informs the creation of solutions that span across the patient pathway. The early identification of suspects of NCDs and their onward referral to ensure appropriate and timely institution of therapy is also key to this line of research, relying on the creation and adoption of innovative technology and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Education and training

TThe expansion of the scope of practice of pharmacists with growing responsibilities in ensuring the appropriate use of medicines, call for extended competencies. This line of research focuses on the identification of educational practices at the national and international level and the signposting of the most effective ones that lead to enhanced competency. The definition of career paths for the different areas of practice and for the levels of expertise mapped in advanced practice competency frameworks.

Neufeld M, Alves da Costa F, Ferreira-Borges C. Prisons need to be included in global and national vaccination effort against COVID-19. The Lancet Regional Health – Europe. 2021; 4:1000888. DOI: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2021.100088
Borges, FC, Murteira, R, Mendes, GP, Ramos, C., Ramos, A., Soares, P., Furtado, C., Miranda, A., Alves da Costa, F, on behalf of the RON network. Monitoring real-life utilization of pembrolizumab in advanced melanoma using the Portuguese National Cancer Registry. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 2020; 30(3): 342-349. DOI:10.1002/pds.5163
Aguiar JP, Alves da Costa F, Egberts T, Leufkens H, Souverein P. The association between receptor binding affinity and metabolic side effect profile of antipsychotics and major cardio- and cerebrovascular events: A case/non-case study using VigiBase. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020; 35:30-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2020.03.022

Filipa Alves da Costa

Group Leader



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Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Lisboa | Av. Professor Gama Pinto
1649-003 Lisboa | Portugal

Phone | +351 217 946 400
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