Health and health care problems can be addressed from multiple disciplinary perspectives. This raises challenges for how to do cross-disciplinary scholarship in ways that are still robust, rigorous and coherent. This paper sets out one particular approach to cross-cutting research - regulation - which has proved extremely fertile for scholars working in diverse fields, from coal mine safety to tax compliance. The first part of the paper considers how regulatory ideas might be applied to health and health care research in general. The second part goes on to sketch out how a regulation perspective on one specific area, illicit drug policy, can open up new directions for research. In conclusion, a future research agenda is outlined for regulatory scholarship on health and health care. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.