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Editor Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell, Pharmacology Section, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies 460-377 BC Hippocrates‟ Primum non nocere, “First do no harm” Dear fellow healthcare professional, Introducing the first monthly E letter which will inform you of the latest news regarding Pharmacovigilance.The aims and objectives of the newsletter are To sensitise you to the importance of pharmacovigilance To encourage you to participate in adverse drug reaction reporting through understanding the importance of the “PHARMWATCH” pharmacovigilance programme Pharmacovigilance refers to the science and activities relating to detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse events or any other possible drug-related problems. It is through pharmacovigilance that adverse drug reactions can be detected when drugs become distributed to the general market. In 1961 , in a letter to the Lancet, Dr. W. G. Mc Bride wrote "... Congenital abnormalities are present in approximately 1.5% of babies. In recent months I have observed that the incidence of multiple severe abnormalities in babies delivered of women who were given the drug thalidomide („Distaval‟) during pregnancy as an anti-emetic or as a sedative, to be almost 20% ... bony development seems to be affected in a very striking manner ... have any of your readers seen similar abnormalities in babies delivered of women who have taken this drug during pregnancy?"

It was through this observation that the teratogenic effects of thalidomide came to public attention. In recent times quite a number of drugs have been noted to cause severe adverse reactions when used by the general public. You may recall that Vioxx, a COX 2 inhibitor was taken off the market in 2004 because of an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, among patients taking the drug. We need to be vigilant. It is important that all healthcare professionals be encouraged to participate in the process of reporting adverse drug reaction. Worldwide, the WHO receives approximately 150,000 reports each month on adverse drug reactions; but none formally from Jamaica. In Jamaica this can be done through completion of “PHARMWATCH” forms .These user -friendly forms can be obtained from me. Whenever you see a patient who has experienced an allergic reaction or adverse reaction to a drug, medicinal product or herbal supplement, please complete the “ PHARMWATCH” form and return it to me. All information will be kept confidential. In the coming months we will be hosting a series of workshops entitled “Pharmacovigilance- ensuring the safe use of medicines”. You will hear more about these workshops in the next E- letter. Best regards, Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell E mail Voice 983-0240


A Newsletter which inform you of the latest news regarding Pharmacovigilance.