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Creating awareness about pharmacovigilance is the need of the hour

The School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Apeejay Stya University celebrates National Pharmacovigilance Week on the theme ‘Encouraging Reporting of Adverse Drug Reactions by Patients’

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Medicines, drugs, and vaccines have transformed the prevention and treatment of various infections and diseases. However in addition to the benefits, medicinal products may also have side effects and aftereffects are mostly undesirable and/or unexpected. This is when ‘Pharmacovigilance’ comes into the picture. It’s the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects or any other medicine/vaccine related problem. 

The mission of Pharmacovigilance is to provide high-quality science-based proactive risk management strategies and operational excellence in a fully compliant global pharmacovigilance system. The goal is to safeguard patients’´well-being. The World Health Organisation also mentions that the purpose of pharmacovigilance is to improve the patient’s safety and enhance his care in terms of the use of medicines, including paramedical interventions. Pharmacovigilance also supports public health programs by providing reliable information for the efficient assessment of the risk-benefit profile of medicines. It contributes to the assessment of benefits, uses, side effects, harm, effectiveness, and risk of medicines. Recently, pharmacovigilance has widened its horizon to include traditional and complementary medicines, herbals, biologicals, blood products, medical devices and vaccines under its umbrella. 

At the same time, the mission of Apeejay Stya University is to bring transformation in society by providing value-based education and creating awareness among the budding doctors or medical experts.

Therefore in sync with the above-mentioned missions, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Apeejay Stya University is conducting 2nd National Pharmacovigilance Week on the theme ‘Encouraging Reporting of Adverse Drug Reactions by Patients’.

The event commenced with the lamp lighting ceremony along with a dance on Ganesh Vandana. The guests for the opening session were Mr. Awadhesh Kumar Yadav, Pharmacovigilance Associate at Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (PvPI) and Mr. Akhilesh Sachan, Technical Data Associate in Pharmacovigilance at the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

Dr Anupama Diwan, Dean at School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Organising Secretary welcomed the dignitaries as well as participants. During her welcome address, she said, “This week holds utmost importance in every pharmacy student’s life. As students of ASU, you deserve to get the best knowledge in your respective field. The sessions will stand helpful in clearing several misconceptions of patients who are taking drugs without knowing the side-effects.”

She further briefed about the history of the Pharmacovigilance Programme of India. “Monitoring, Digitalisation and Analysing are the main objects of PVPI. If we understand this objective, the week will be successful,” she added.  The session was chaired and co-chaired by faculty members Dr. D.K. Majumdar and Dr. Rani Mansuri respectively. 

Subsequently, Mr. Awadhesh Kumar Yadaw mentioned techniques on reporting and on the importance of creating awareness on reporting at ground level. He also discussed the ‘Adverse Drug Effects’ and its type. He informed the audience including budding doctors about the number and link where reporting can be easily done. He emphasised an urgent need for the government to keep a check on the artificial market in India in which new products are being launched due to high commission but are poor in quality and zero trust. He also discussed various types of cases of rashes caused by medicines such as Zenflox-oz, Termin injection and steroid abuse (alopecia areata).

The next session was chaired by Mr. Akhilesh Sachan who has an experience of 8 years and above in health sciences. Mr. Sachan enlightened the audience about causality assessment of ADRs, which is a method used for estimating the strength of relationship between drug(s) exposure and occurrence of adverse reaction(s). He also gave a brief detail about monitoring and evaluation of livelihood of medicine or drugs that were causative agents of adverse reaction. He focused on topics as to why, basic criteria, WHO-UMC system and basic terminologies of causality assessment of ADRs.

The sessions concluded with a hands-on activity for the audience in which they were taught how to fill up the official forms such as that of  ‘Medicines side-effect reporting form’, ‘Serious AEFI case notification form’ by reading various cases. 

A second year B Pharma student Muskaan Gupta said, “At Apeejay Stya University, I got a golden chance to learn about new experiences and gather knowledge from experts in pharmacovigilance field about reporting and creating awareness at low level, causality assessment of ADRs and how to fill the forms of reporting. My day concluded with a self-promise to make people aware about pharmacovigilance” 

The National Pharmacovigilance Week will conclude on 23 September 2022.

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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