As many as one out of three drugs on the US market may have safety issues, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The statistic highlights a key challenge of modern medicine, the need to track adverse events long after regulatory agencies have approved new drugs. This is where pharmacovigilance, also known as drug safety, comes in. Typically, patients who want to report an adverse event are directed to their doctor, who can then relay that information to a pharmacovigilance data system. However, since only five percent of doctors are estimated to participate in any pharmacovigilance system, this process can be inefficient at cataloguing patient issues
Education is the key to progress in the area of pharmacovigilance. According to a 2018 report by the World Health Organization, more than 50% of all medicines are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately, and 50% of patients fail to take them correctly. In the US alone, adverse drug reactions account for nearly 7% of hospital admissions, and half of these may be avoidable. The life science industry commits a modest amount of money to pharmacovigilance with a recent study by Cutting Edge Information finding the average spend was $16m per year on pharmacovigilance. Mid-size companies spend $2.9m a year, while small companies and biotech’s spend $1.6m and $1.1m respectively.
On the public level, the International Society of Pharmacovigilance (ISoP) works to foster both scientific advancement and education for the safe use of pharmaceuticals and medical devices globally. With increased general access to medicines during recent decades, including in resource-limited countries, monitoring their safe use has become critical. Pharmacovigilance may be undertaken by professionals working clinically, in national and international regulatory systems, within academia, in public health initiatives, NGOs and other international organizations, and the pharmaceutical industry.
A bright future is assured for employees within the sector as the global pharmacovigilance market size is estimated to grow at a CAGR of above 12.8 % over the forecast time frame 2019-2026 and reach the market value around $10.6bn by 2026, according to Acumen Research.