Documents research exposes gaps in drug policy

Established in 2002 to house millions of documents that surfaced from lawsuits against the tobacco industry, UCSF’s Industry Documents Library is a rich repository of sources that reveal the inner workings of various commercial sectors, including pharmaceuticals.

During the pandemic, Hanna Yakubi and Brian Gac—then Class of 2021 PharmD students at the School of Pharmacy—were sinking their teeth into one of the library’s nascent subcollections when they identified documents that laid bare the profit-driven intentions and willful negligence of the opioid industry.

Under the supervision of Department of Clinical Pharmacy faculty member Dorie Apollonio, PhD, MPP, Gac and Yakubi published the first studies of opioid industry practices to reveal a problem that scholars, politicians, and the general public were just beginning to understand—one that has contributed to more than 600,000 American deaths.

Documents research, a field gaining traction in pharmacy, can expose gaps in drug policies, which in turn can reveal ways in which more regulatory oversight may improve health. And UCSF’s collection today boasts more than 3 million opioid documents, making it a trove that holds vast scholarly potential to prevent future industry injustices.


Corporate Strategy, National Tragedy


School of Pharmacy, Department of Clinical Pharmacy

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.