James McCormack

James McCormack

Professor of Pharmacy
University of British Columbia

Dr. James McCormack received his undergraduate pharmacy degree at the University of British Columbia in 1982 and completed a hospital pharmacy residency program at Lion’s Gate Hospital in North Vancouver in 1984. He received his doctorate in pharmacy (PharmD) in 1986 from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. He has had extensive experience, both locally and internationally, talking to health professionals and consumers about the rational use of medication.

Dr. McCormack has presented over 400 seminars on drug therapy over the last 25 years, focusing on shared-informed decision-making using evidence based information and rational therapeutic principles. In addition, he has published over 100 articles, mainly in the area of rational drug therapy, and served as an editor for two internationally recognized textbooks on rational drug therapy. He is also the co-host of a very popular weekly podcast called the Best Science (BS) Medicine podcast, which can be found at therapeuticseducation.org and the iTunes store.

Selected publications

Caulfield, Timothy, Clark Marianne I., McCormack James P., Rachul Christen, and Field Catherine J. Representations of the health value of vitamin D supplementation in newspapers: media content analysis. BMJ Open 2014, 4(12):p.e006395

Korownyk, Christina, Kolber Michael R., McCormack James, Lam Vanessa, Overbo Kate, Cotton Candra, Finley Caitlin, Turgeon Ricky D., Garrison Scott, Lindblad Adrienne J., et al. Televised medical talk shows–what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: a prospective observational study. BMJ 2014 349:7346

McCormack, James, Vandermeer Ben, and G Allan Michael. How confidence intervals become confusion intervals. BMC Med Res Methodol 2013 13:134

G Allan, Michael, Nouri Faeze, Korownyk Christina, Kolber Michael R., Vandermeer Ben, and McCormack James. Agreement among cardiovascular disease risk calculators. Circulation 2013 127(19), p.1948-56

McCormack, James, and G Allan Michael. A prescription for improving antibiotic prescribing in primary care. BMJ 2012 344:d7955


Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A vet or a hockey player

Q: Who is/was your role model?
A: Pretty much any health care provider that is trying to do the right thing

Q: Tell us about a meaningful moment in your career
A: When I found out that monitoring levels of aminoglycosides was not based on any solid evidence yet I had been taught to religiously do these levels.

Q: If someone asked you to suggest a book to read, what would you recommend?
A: My brother’s book, Understanding Ken – its available on Amazon

Q: What do you like to do in your down time?
A: Hockey, tennis, coach my daughters teams, piano and guitar

Q: What is your favourite cuisine?
A: Anything with fish and nothing with any other types of meat – I’m a pescatarian

Q: What is your favourite place in the world?
A: Home – Vancouver BC

Q: Who would you most like to thank, and why?
A: Everyone who tries to get the best available evidence out to the world in a sensible and understandable way

Q: What are three things you would change in medicine?
A: a) get rid of almost all guidelines
b) make shared decision making mandatory for almost all clinical encounters

Q: How do you want people to remember you?
A: That I tried to make a difference by getting people to understand and appreciate evidence based practice in a fun and informative way.