All posts by richard

Chicago area; 52% of dangerous drug interactions were missed

The Chicago Tribune published on the 15th December 2016 a great piece of investigative journalism which took 2 years to perform.

The result is vastly shocking; out of the 255 selected pharmacies (big chains aswell as independent pharmacies) a staggering 52% did NOT mention the potential serious interactions to the patients.

For the full article use the link underneath.

At GIMS foundation we argue; if even in a High Income country like the USA such a bad result is obtained, what would the situation be in Low- & Middle Income countries….

That is why in these countries the improvements on the ‘Acces to medication-theme’ should be accompagnied by Medication Safety measures!


Pay only for results

With the arrival of new, mainly anti-cancer, drugs which are targeted at small populations and which are very/extremely high priced, international discussions are intensifying how to deal with the budget consequences. Especially when such a specific medicine does not reach 100% efficacy.

One of the lines of thinking, proposed by the pharma industry, consists of making definitive payment dependend upon achieved individual therapeutic results. So if there is no result, there will be no payment.

At GIMS we welcome this concept, but at the same time argue that this concept should ALSO be applied to other groups of less expensive medicines. Then industry would also be more interested in having a positive influence on the results of other chain partners.

In the end, medicines are ‘just a mean’ in reaching a desired health result, or therapeutic outcome, for which society is willing/able to pay.

EFPIA and Medication Safety

EFPIA (being the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) states it very clearly in their Annual Report 2015:

‘Our Vision: We support a vision of outcomes driven, sustainable healthcare systems ……..and ensure the highest security of the medicines supply chain.’

‘Our Commitment: Improving patient outcomes……and improving patient safety…..By working in partnership with all health care stakeholders, we seek to develop practical solutions to make these goals a reality.’ 

At GIMS we warmly welcome these explicit words, commitments and co-responsibilities.


‘Poor prescription practices across Africa are putting patients at risk’

Again, as described in the underneath mentioned article,  it is made clear that there is still a lot of work to be done concerning Medication Safety…

And it is quite safe to estimate that it is not only a problem in Africa!

‘Irrational prescriptions are a major global health problem. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than half of all medicines are inappropriately prescribed, dispensed or sold. In addition, half of all patients fail to take them correctly.

In Africa, where most countries have weak health systems and underdeveloped mechanisms for routine monitoring of medicines, this problem is common.’

For full article:

poor practices-across-africa-are-putting-patients-at-risk/


Industry get proactive!

The very fine article ‘Specific features of medicines safety and pharmacovigilance in Africa’ already made rather clear:

‘The pharmaceutical industry also poses a major
challenge to the growth of pharmacovigilance. As
a major stakeholder, it should be proactive in
efforts to ensure the safety of medicines and not
merely opting to remain a marketing outfit as
seen in African countries. It is hoped that appropriate
legislation will address this aberration.’

Specific features of medicines safety and pharmacovigilance in Africa (2012)

PV in resource-limited countries

A lot of work concerning Medication Safety still has to be done as can be the conclusion from the article in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology; ‘Pharmacovigilance in resourve-limited countries’ (June 2015).

Abstract; ‘In the past 20 years, many low- and middle-income countries have created national pharmacovigilance (PV) systems and joined the WHO’s global PV network. However, very few of them have fully functional systems. Scientific evidence on the local burden of medicine-related harm and their preventability is missing. Legislation and regulatory framework as well as financial support to build sustainable PV systems are needed. Public health programs need to integrate PV to monitor new vaccines and medicines introduced through these programs. Signal analysis should focus on high-burden preventable adverse drug problems. Increased involvement of healthcare professionals from public and private sectors, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions and the public at large is necessary to assure a safe environment for drug therapy. WHO has a major role in supporting and coordinating these developments.’

Pharmacovigilance in resource limited countries 2015

Universal Health Care Program and Medication Safety

Within Universal Health Care programs an important role is defined for Medicines Benefit programs.

MSH is a very active organisation in that theme: MSH: managing medicines_benefits_making_universal_health_coverage_a_reality (29-02-216)

Conclusion of the MSH publication: “The objective is to create awareness of the key considerations for designing a sustainable medicines benefit program in LMICs. Ultimately, if people can better incorporate medicines in their [universal health coverage] programs, then we will be meeting the objective [of universal health coverage], which is to reduce out of pocket payments and ensure equitable access to quality care.’

At the GIMS office we think; besides the needed Medicines Benefits Program  a parallel Medication Safety Program should be created!


WHO and Medication Safety

Today, 25th of May 2016, a side event was organised by the WHO at the 69th World Health Assembly with a clear focus; Medication Safety.

“Addressing the Global Challenge of Medication Safety to Improve Patient Safety and Quality of Care”.

The side event session will review the problem of unsafe medication practices and existing challenges to medication safety; explore key strategies for the safety of medication practices, and reduction of medication errors and medication-associated harm to improve patient safety and quality of care; and introduce the next WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety for high-level advocacy and call for concerted global and country actions on medication safety.

The side event is co-chaired by:
His Excellency Piotr Stachazyk, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of
Poland to the UN Office in Geneva
Sir Liam Donaldson, WHO Envoy for Patient Safety
Dr Edward Kelley, Director, Service Delivery and Safety Department, WHO

The side event is sponsored by Poland and co-sponsored by Malaysia, Oman
and Sri Lanka.

For additional information, please contact
Dr Neelam Dhingra, Coordinator, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, WHO

We look forward to your attendance!


Shelby Kemper, PharmD, MPH
Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Unit
World Health Organization