An analysis of Vigimed, a global E-mail system for the exchange of pharmacovigilance information
2007 (English)In: Drug Safety, ISSN 0114-5916, Vol. 30, no 10, 883-889 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background and aim: The Internet provides novel ways for communication and data exchange between national regulators. One innovation was the introduction of Vigimed, an e-mail discussion forum for national pharmacovigilance centres (NPCs). We reviewed a sample of Vigimed messages to learn more about this new tool and about the problems encountered in everyday pharmacovigilance and how these are handled. Methods: We analysed the contents of 100 subsequent questions and the corresponding responses as stored in the Vigimed datafile. Results: To the 100 questions circulated through Vigimed, 575 answers were received; mean number of answers per question 6, range 0-20. Fifty-five (77%) of the 71 collaborating countries and 88 (43%) of the 204 individuals who had access in the study period had submitted at least one question or answer. These countries were in all parts of the world and in various phases of development. A total of 38% of the questions concerned the regulatory status of a drug; 30% safety issues; 13 % regulatory actions under consideration; and 10% drug use-related problems (more than one category possible). Of the questions, 89% concerned established drugs; 11% were classified as new. A total of 90% of the questions concerned specific active substances or drug groups. Of the drugs, 73% were classified as 'orthodox' and 9% as herbal; 4% were vaccines and 4% excipients. Emerging drug groups (anatomical therapeutic chemical codes) were NSAIDs and analgesics (M01, N02), antibacterials (J01), antiobesity drugs (A08), psychotropic drugs (N05) and antihistamines (R06). Discussion: NPCs operate in a restricted environment and there is little published information about the daily practices and experiences at NPCs. Our study concerned a sample in a limited period in time. In the meantime, the use of Vigimed has greatly expanded. The data in the Vigimed records are subjected to confidentiality in regard to the identities of countries, staff members, drug products and pharmaceutical companies, which tin-tits the presentation of data in a publication. For information about the actions taken to manage the matters and problems raised in Vigimed it would have been necessary to contact the NPCs and acquire follow-up data. Conclusions: The Vigimed e-mail discussion group was rapidly incorporated into the routines at NPCs in many countries around the world. When two or more persons per country have access, participation increases. The matters raised predominantly refer to regulatory policy, safety concerns and drug use-related problems, and mainly concern established drugs. The latter emphasises the need for persistent monitoring of all drugs. New safety concerns are often sensitive and uncertain; the timely and efficient communication of such suspicions benefits from an environment of confidentiality. The Vigimed records give a unique view of real-life pharmacovigilance, of the matters addressed, the problems encountered, the data needed and the ways in which NPCs help each other. Such information can help make pharmacovigilance more efficient and effective.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 30, no 10, 883-889 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-98643ISI: 000250130700006PubMedID: 17867725OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-98643DiVA: diva2:200923