Joel R Lexchin


Locations / Contact Info:

420 HNES
Keele Campus
Phone: 416 736 2100 Ext. 22119

Email address(es):

Web site(s):

Faculty & School/Dept.

Faculty of Health - School of Health Policy & Management


BSc - 1971
University of Toronto

MD - 1977
University of Toronto

MSc - 1973
University of Toronto


Joel Lexchin received his MD from the University of Toronto in 1977 and for the past 23 years has been an emergency physician at The University Health Network. He is currently a Professor in the School of Health Policy and Management at York University and an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. From 1992-94 he was a member of the Ontario Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee and he was the chair of the Drugs and Pharmacotherapy Committee of the Ontario Medical Association from 1997-99. He has been a consultant for the province of Ontario, various arms of the Canadian federal government, the World Health Organization, the government of New Zealand and the Australian National Prescribing Service. He is the author or co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed articles on topics such as physician prescribing behaviour, pharmaceutical patent issues, the drug approval process and prescription drug promotion. He is a coauthor of Drugs of Choice: A Formulary for General Practice and author of Drug Therapy for Emergency Physicians. 

Selected Publications

Spurling GK, Mansfield PR, Montgomery BD, Lexchin J, Doust J, Othman N, Vitry AI. Information from pharmaceutical companies and the quality, quantity, and cost of physicians’ prescribing: a systematic review. PLoS Medicine 2010;7:e1000352.

Lexchin J. One step forwards, one step sideways? Expanding research capacity for neglected diseases. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010;10:20.

Lexchin J. Drug safety and Health Canada. International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine 2010;22:41-53.

Lexchin J. Pharmaceutical innovation: can we live forever? A commentary on Schnittker and Karandinos. Social Science & Medicine 2010;70:972-3.

Lexchin J, O’Donovan O. Prohibiting or ‘managing’ conflict of interest? A review of policies and procedures in three European drug regulation agencies. Social Science & Medicine 2010;70:643-647

Lexchin J, Mintzes B. Medicine reimbursement recommendations in Canada, Australia, and Scotland. American Journal of Managed Care 2008;14:581-8.

Lexchin J. Clinical trials in Canada: whose interests are paramount? International Journal of Health Services 2008;38:525-42.

Lexchin J, Sekeres M, Gold J, Ferris LE, Kalkar SR, Wu W, Van Laethem M, Moher D, Maskalyk MJ, Taback N, Rochon PA. National evaluation of policies on individual financial conflicts of interest in Canadian academic health science centers. Journal of General Internal Medicine 2008;23:1896-1903.

Gagnon M-A, Lexchin J. The cost of pushing pills: a new estimate of pharmaceutical promotion expenditures in the United States. PLoS Medicine 2008;5:e1.

Allan GM, Lexchin J, Wiebe N. Physician awareness of drug cost: a systematic review. PLOS Med 2007;4(9): e283.

Guyatt G, Devereaux PJ, Lexchin J, Stone SB, Yalnizyan A, Himmelstein D, Woolhandler S, Zhou Q, Goldsmith LJ, Cook DJ, Haines T, Lacchetti C, Lavis JN, Sullivan T, Mills E, Kraus S, Bhatnagar N. A systematic review of studies comparing health outcomes in Canada and the United States. Open Medicine 2007;1:E27-36.

Lexchin J, Light D. Commercial influence and the content of medical journals. BMJ 2006;332:1444-7.

Lexchin J. Bigger and better: how Pfizer redefined erectile dysfunction. PLoS Medicine  2006;3(4):e132.

Light DW, Lexchin J. Foreign free riders and the high price of US medicines. BMJ 2005;331:958-60.

Lexchin J. Drug withdrawals from the Canadian market for safety reasons, 1963-2004. CMAJ 2005;172:765-7.

Lexchin J, Bero L, Djubegovic B, Clark O. Pharmaceutical industry sponsored research: evidence for a systematic bias. BMJ 2003;326:1167-70.

Henry D, Lexchin J. Industry as a medicines provider. Lancet 2002;360:1590-6.

Lexchin J.  Hear no secrets, see no secrets, speak no secrets:  secrecy in the Canadian drug approval system. International Journal of Health Services 1999;29:167-78.

Lexchin J.  Income class and pharmaceutical expenditure in Canada:  1964-1990. Canadian Journal of Public Health 1996;87:46-50.

Other Research Outputs

Wiktorowicz M, Lexchin J, Moscou K, Silversides A, Eggertson L. Keeping an eye on prescription drugs, keeping Canadians safe: active monitoring systems for drug safety and effectiveness in Canada and internationally. Health Council of Canada, 2010. 

Wiktorowicz M, Lexchin J, Paterson M, Mintzes B, Light D, Morgan S, Holbrook A, Tanblyn R, Zaki E, Moscou K. Research networks involved in post-market pharmacosurveillance in the United States, United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Australia, Norway and European Union: lessons for Canada. Canadian Patient Safety Instittute, 2008.

Norris P, Herxheimer A, Lexchin J, Mansfield P. Drug promotion: what we know, what we have yet to learn. World Health Organization/Health Action International, 2004.

Sanger M, Sinclair S, Campbell B, Blouin C, Foster J, Labonte R, Lexchin J, Shrybman S. Putting health first: Canadian health care reform, trade treaties and foreign policy. Summary Report for the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, October 2002.  


Medical Reform Group of Canada

Health Action International - Europe
HAI - Europe Association Board member

Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians

Canadian Medical Association

Healthy Skepticism
Management Group member

Service/Community Activities

University Health Network
Emergency department physician


Dean’s award for research (established career) - 2008
Faculty of Health, York University

Stichting Werkgroep Antibioticabeleid Award - 2004
Stichting Werkgroep Antibioticabeleid

Research excellence - 2005
Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Fellow of the Canadian College of Family Physicians - 1996
Canadian College of Family Physicians

Anna Jarvis Teaching Award - 1998
Emergency Medicine Residency Program, University of Toronto


Currently available to supervise graduate students: Yes

Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers: No

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: Yes

Current Research

His research interests include: physician prescribing behaviour, pharmaceutical promotion, the drug approval process and access to medications in the developing world.

Research Projects

CIHR/Health Canada team in policies for equitable access to medications
To foster a cross-Canada network of academics who are interested in research into pharmaceutical policy areas
Role: CoInvestigator
Amount funded: $1494565
Year Funded: 2009
Duration: 5
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Comparison of medical journal advertisements in 3 countries
To investigate whether the way that medical journal advertisements are regulated influences how accurate they are
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $3000
Year Funded: 2009
Duration: 1
Funded by: York University

Pharmaceutical sales representatives and patient safety: comparative cross-sectional survey
To investigate the interactions between pharmaceutical sales representatives and general practitioners in Canada, France and the United States with respect to the quality of information that general practitioners are given and how that may influence patient safety.
Role: CoInvestigator
Amount funded: $141119
Year Funded: 2009
Duration: 2
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Public Opinions on the Ethics of Physician-Pharmaceutical Industry Interactions
A survey of the attitudes of the Canadian public towards interactions between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry.
Role: CoInvestigator
Amount funded: $109405
Year Funded: 2009
Duration: 1 1/2
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Re-imagining long-term residential care: an international study of promising practices
To look at the history of long-term care in Canada and internationally and to plan for a future for long-term care that meets the needs of both residents and workers
Role: CoInvestigator
Amount funded: $2498000
Year Funded: 2010
Duration: 7
Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Curriculum Vitae (C.V. file):

CV of Joel R Lexchin