Abu Dhabi: The first National Pharmacovigilance workshop hosted by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation highlighted the need to control drug safety through building a new national PV system for the UAE.

A group of representatives from the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), WHO, UAE University, Ministry of Health, and DOHMS came together at a three-day workshop to review and finalise recommendations, including establishing a national Pharmacovigilance (PV) committee with members from health authorities, the ministry, military medical services, academia, private sector and industry.

The ministry and UAE University will coordinate on setting up the committee.

In addition, each emirate-specific PV, drug, or poison information centre shall establish a local advisory team to ensure the quality and harmonisation of procedures, practices and coordination with national PV committee, and inauguration of a national centre dedicated to PV providing it with needed human and financial resources.

Appropriate training

The national centre must collect, manage and report data to the WHO Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring.

Appropriate training of the central as well as local staff should be coordinated and carried on according to international credentials and standards.

The centre will operate according to the international standards of PV and be an active member of the WHO international drug monitoring programme.

Also, the national PV centre must coordinate and harmonise policies and practices with other GCC countries.

Engineer Zaid Al Siksek, Director of Health Policy and Regulation, HAAD, affirmed full support for implementing the recommendations and establish a national PV system.

"HAAD highly appreciates the efforts made by WHO ... the two parties will coordinate and cooperate more in the future to implement many other ongoing HAAD initiatives," said Siksek.

Dr Abdul Karim Smine, team leader in drug regulation, HAAD, and Chairman of the organising committee of the PV workshop, said a task force has been identified and a national plan will be drafted and submitted to decision makers.

While the National PV committee is being established, HAAD in collaboration with all stakeholders will implement part of the WHO recommended changes to the existing system after being approved by the senior management.

Some of the objectives highlighted in the meeting included raising awareness for the need to control drug safety.