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Learning and practicing pharmacovigilance in the Mediterranean countries of the EU

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A prescription for safer drugs

An EU-funded project has developed a system for transferring skills and knowledge on drug monitoring. It can help ensure that the medicines we take are safe and is good news for health care in the EU.

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While medicines are beneficial in the treatment and control of diseases, on occasion they may also produce adverse effects in the human body. Identifying, collecting and analysing the adverse reactions to medicines is what the science of pharmacovigilance or drug monitoring is all about. Pharmacovigilance is an essential practice to safeguard public health and minimise the risks involved in taking medicines. The recognition and notification of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) is a complex task requiring knowledge and expertise on behalf of health professionals. However, especially in southern Europe, the current delivery of notifications to the medical authorities is poor, both in quality and quantity. The reason for this inadequacy is a lack of knowledge. To remedy this situation, the 'Learning and practicing pharmacovigilance in the Mediterranean countries of the EU' (MED EPHV) project set out to provide educational and training material on the subject. The project’s objective was to design an e-learning system. The project developed a suite of software solutions and network-based integration services for providing an efficient system of ADR recognition and notification. It was developed, tested and validated with the active support of end users. The system will enable both health practitioners and patients in Mediterranean countries to learn and practise ADR notification. The potential impact of the MED EPHV project will certainly be highly positive for public health and it can be adapted for use in other countries and other areas. For example, an efficient EU pharmacovigilance system could also be used for monitoring bioterrorism attacks as well as any adverse reactions resulting from practices such as tattooing and body piercing.

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