Dubai: Adverse drug reactions (ADR) for any registered medicine — as well as fake or harmful drugs — must be reported to a government site to to help guide health policy makers, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for licensing and public health policy at the ministry, delivering his keynote address at the ministry’s 6th Pharamacovigilance (PV) conference said: “Members of the public, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, can report adverse drug reactions on our website on Tammimi.” Tammimi is the e-services section on the Ministry of Health and Prevention website that provides all previous alerts on previous adverse drug reactions as well.
“Based on the complaints, the Ministry’s officers examine and verify and [subsequently] issue regulations and notifications against the said drugs through media outlets to the public,” said Dr Al Amiri.
Last year, the ministry received 824 alerts from people as comapred to 59 alerts the ministry received in 2013. “The numbers are higher because of the high level of awareness and education of the people and the vigilance,” said Dr Al Amiri.
Explaining the role of pharmacovigilance, Dr Al Amiri said that it is the science of collecting, assessing and evaluating the adverse reactions of drugs, herbal and traditional medicine on people’s health.
The UAE stands united and committed to the international cause of safe drug use, he said and pointed out that drugs do not have to be fake or counterfeit to cause Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR).
“Even registered medicines such as paracetamols, diabetes, cancer and cholesterol medication can cause a reaction if they are being overused or ingested by someone randomly without proper prescription,” he informed.
With an abundance of medical information availbe freely on the internet, people are getting into the habit of self-medication, Dr Al Amiri said. “They have become their own pathologists, physicians and pharmacists. Some people travel to Asian countries to buy medicines for cheap for themselves and also distribute them to their relatives. Nearly 90 per cent of medication such as food supplements, weight-loss druggs, etc, available online are fake,” said Dr Al Amiri.
The counterfeit market worldwide exceeds $100 billion in value and adverse drug reactions cost billions of dollars in saving lives apart from the loss of productivity of those affected and the additional health burden on countries, Dr Al Amiri informed.
The MOHP stands united with the pharma industry to be on high alert and act swiftly on early detection of ADR, quick control, quantifying the damage, preventing further damage by regulating the drug and advocating its safe use.
In 2016, the Ministry appointed 227 PV (Pharmacovigilance) officers and in 2016 these officers reported 281 cases of ADR to the Uppasala Monitoring Committee that is constituted by all World Health Organisation-registered countries advocating international safe drug use.
Dr Yacoub Haddad head of Pharmag, the pharmaceutical organisation in UAE that co-hosted the conference, pledged total support to the health ministry. “People sometimes do die of an illness but no one must die because of a medicine. The goal of PV is to rationalize the use of drugs for its maximum benefit to humanity and with complete safety.”
HOW TO REPORT