All encouraged to report ADRs

Debbie Rigby

Pharmacists, other health professionals and consumers have been encouraged to report adverse medicines events, during a session at the National Medicines Symposium last week.

Consultant pharmacist Debbie Rigby urged pharmacists to report ADRs, pointing out that the more they are reported, the more full a picture health stakeholders can put together.

“ADR reporting is an integral part of being a health professional – any health professional, including pharmacists,” she said.

“If we don’t have this data, we’re not going to have safe and effective use of drugs.”

This is going to be particularly the case as new drugs, especially biologics, come to market, she says.

Rigby said that a significant barrier to sufficient ADR reporting is accessibility, or perceptions thereof; however mechanisms for reporting are easy for pharmacists to access.

“It’s inculcated into the software, the FRED software, and it should be easy for pharmacists to do every day.”

Historically consumers have been a different story, but she also highlighted the NPS Adverse Medicine Event (AME) phone line service, which provides timely reporting of adverse events by consumers to the TGA.

The service started in July 2012 and more than 1000 reports have been submitted.

By far the most reported adverse events by consumers are related to vaccination, she said; the panel, also comprised of Calvary Hospital’s Megan Arnold, Austin Health’s Jane Booth and Claire Keith, the TGA’s Richard Hill, and Duncan Woods from the New Zealand Formulary, discussed to what extent this could be due to lobby groups and interests around vaccination, and thus a motivated cohort of complaining consumers.

“I think this is an important role for all providers, whether you’re a nurse or a pharmacist or a medical practitioner, to highlight the important role consumers play in alerting us to ADRs,” Rigby said.

The role for hospital pharmacists was also examined, with Arnold exploring ways to increase reporting in the setting.

These included making forms and submissions as accessible as possible, including electronically; completing reports at the time they are initiated; and reporting the results back to the original reporter – particularly interesting cases could be used for grand rounds or publications, counting as evidence for accreditation.

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