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A Look at Pharmacovigilance

Possessing more than two decades of experience in the medical field, Dr. Steve Dingman has obtained expertise in organic chemistry, investigational drugs, pharmaceutical research, US Food and Drug Administration filings, and other areas. Dr. Dingman serves as drug safety physician in the Global Clinical Safety and Pharmacovigilance Department of UCB, Inc.

Pharmacovigilance refers to the field concerned with the adverse effects of pharmaceuticals, biologicals, and herbal remedies. Those who practice the science identify and evaluate the negative impact of drugs before and after they reach the market. Among their responsibilities are drug monitoring, adverse drug reaction reporting, and postmarketing product surveillance. Focused on patient safety, this area also involves conducting public health programs that inform people about the risks and benefits of medicines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) established this branch in the 1960s as a result of thalidomide, a sedative that caused birth defects in infants. Initially responsible for creating the Programme for International Drug Monitoring, WHO later formed the more inclusive Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring. Since WHO encouraged each nation to implement its own pharmacovigilance initiatives, more than 130 countries have joined the program.

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