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Indian J Pharmacol. 2016 Oct;48(Suppl 1):S57-S60. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.193324.

The need for a comprehensive medication safety module in medical education.

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Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India; Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.



A rising number of medicines and minimal emphasis on rational prescribing in the medical curriculum may compromise medication safety. There is no focused module in the curriculum dealing with factors affecting safety such as quality, medicines management, rational use, and approach to adverse effects. Creating awareness of these issues would hopefully plant a seed of safe prescribing and encourage pharmacovigilance. A study was therefore done to determine the need for such a module.


A quasi-experimental pre-post module study. Medical students (n = 88) completing pharmacology term were recruited after informed consent. A questionnaire containing 20 questions on various themes was administered and scored. Subsequently a module was developed and relevant safety themes taught to the students. After one month, the questionnaire was re-administered.


The pre module score was 9.52/20. Knowledge about the various themes, adverse effects, medication management, quality issues and rational use were similar though poor knowledge was evident in specific areas such as clinical trials, look alike-sound alike medicines (LASA) and medicine storage. The post module score was 12.24/20. The improvement of score was statistically significant suggesting the effectiveness of the module.


The relatively poor knowledge and improvement with a specific educational module emphasizes the need of such a module within the medical curriculum to encourage safe use of medicines by Indian Medical Graduates (IMG). It is hoped that the policy makers in medical education will introduce such a module within the medical curriculum.


Pharmacology; Students have a relatively poor knowledge of medication safety issues. There is a need for specific learning modules in the area of medication safety within the medical curriculum and also in continuing medical education programs.; pharmacovigilance; safety module

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