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Drug Saf. 2012 Jan 1;35(1):45-60. doi: 10.2165/11594320-000000000-00000.

Experiences with adverse drug reaction reporting by patients: an 11-country survey.

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Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb, s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands.



Patients are important stakeholders in pharmacovigilance; however, little formal evaluation has been undertaken of existing patient reporting schemes within and outside Europe. If patient reporting is to be recognized as beneficial for pharmacovigilance and further optimized, methodology and best practice must be internationally shared and promoted.


This study aims to review the methods of patient reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in 11 countries worldwide and to compare different aspects of their experiences.


A survey based on telephone interviews, e-mail discussions and field visits of existing practices in consumer and patient reporting of ADRs was performed in the second half of 2010.


The start dates of the patient reporting schemes vary from 1964 (Australia) to 2010 (Norway). The number of patient reports per country varies widely. Most countries would ideally spend more resources on making the public aware of the possibility that patients can report ADRs. Most countries have three different ways for patients to report ADRs - a paper form, an electronic form on a website or by telephone. The level of sophistication of the electronic forms varies. The route of handling of patients' and healthcare professionals' ADR reports is the same for most countries. Personalized feedback on the reported association for each report is only given by four organizations. All countries have guidelines for the identification of patients in the database and most undertake checks for duplicate reports. In all countries, with the exception of Norway, it is possible to ask patients for follow-up. None of the organizations seek medical confirmation for each patient report. There is a difference between countries that do a causality assessment for each incoming ADR report and countries that only do a causality assessment of reports when they are looking at a potential signal. All countries assess the seriousness of reports, mostly by using the criteria of the CIOMS committee. In all countries, patient reports are used for signal detection purposes and in publications about ADRs. The Netherlands and the UK are actively evaluating their patient reporting schemes. None of the organizations hired additional staff when they started with patient reporting.


This study provides a comprehensive review on the methods used in patient reporting of ADRs. Although there are some differences in the way various countries handle patient reports of ADRs, the importance of giving the public the opportunity to report and the additional scientific value of the collected data is widely recognized by the countries who participated in this survey.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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