Assessing the safety of an intervention such as a drug is challenging. Methods may be less developed or understood than for efficacy assessments. In addition, as clinical trials are often not powered for safety end points, there's a need to continue investigations using various methods once the drug is on the market. If you are new to this field, it can be difficult to understand (battle your way through!) the different terms and definitions involved (pharmacovigilance, pharmacoepidemiology, safety, risk, harm, hazard etc...), and collecting data in a standardised, robust manner so that it will be useful in answering questions posed can be surprisingly complex. There are a lot of good resources available, but these may be tough to find or inappropriate for use in your context.
Launched in May 2016, this website brings together useful pharmacovigilance resources for researchers, students, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, program managers – anyone who faces the challenge of collecting, managing and reporting safety data, sometimes under very difficult conditions. We aim to host or link to a variety of tools, templates, courses, events etc. to help you address some of these challenges. Open-access or low cost options will be highlighted and perhaps most importantly, we aim to create a network for knowledge-sharing where issues can be discussed, questions posed, and challenges raised. The website was initially created with finance from the ACT Consortium which was funded through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. As the ACT Consortium set out collecting robust data relating to the safety of their drugs of interest (antimalarials), they developed tools and systems that could be useful in a variety of settings and for a variety of different drugs. This collaboration with The Global Health Network offers a sophisticated digital platform to share those tools and other relevant resources from a network of those with an interest in pharmacovigilance. But we're not just interested in drugs! Whilst ensuring all medicines are safe is important, we also think it’s important to recognise that risks may extend to other interventions, such as traditional and herbal medicines, vaccines, biologics, devices and various non-medicinal interventions… the list goes on!
For the website to be a success, we need to hear from you! Discover how to get started and how to engage with the network. Please dont hesitate to get in touch if you have something to share or would like to see something in particular, we will aim to support all requests.
Dr Elizabeth Allen* and Ryan Walker
*Learn more about Liz, and how she undertook her PhD in Pharmacovigilance.