Conclusions

The discipline of pharmacovigilance has developed and improved over the years. Much information on drug safety is now collected and subject to expert analysis and review. However, drug-induced morbidity remains a leading cause of hospital admission in several countries. A number of improvements have been mentioned, but the primary immediate need is for effective and efficient communication to health professionals.

This will need a paradigm shift from a gaze focused only on finding novel ADRs to new drugs, to a concentration on finding the problems associated with drug use in the community and how to improve it.

Health professions are criticised for many deficiencies, one of which is drug-related injury, but in our view society does not equip the health professions with the right resources to improve their performance. On the contrary, health professionals work under increasingly difficult circumstances in many countries. As far as drug safety is concerned, the provision of much better information for health professionals and the time for them to analyse and use the information is the main challenge for the near future. Only then can patients feel that they have the best chance of rational, individually tailored treatment, the best chance of not experiencing ADRs, the best chance of having unavoidable ADRs diagnosed and the best chance of important clinical experiences of ADRs being reported and used for future improvements.

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