A primer of drug safety surveillance: an industry perspective. Part I: Information flow, new drug development, and federal regulations

M C Allan
Journal of Pharmacy Technology: JPT: Official Publication of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians 1992, 8 (4): 162-7

OBJECTIVE: To place the fundamentals of clinical drug safety surveillance in a conceptual framework that will facilitate understanding and application of adverse drug event data to protect the health of the public and support a market for pharmaceutical manufacturers' products. Part I of this series provides a background for the discussion of drug safety by defining the basic terms and showing the flow of safety information through a pharmaceutical company. The customers for adverse drug event data are identified to provide a basis for providing quality service. The development of a drug product is briefly reviewed to show the evolution of safety data. Drug development and safety are defined by federal regulations. These regulations are developed by the FDA with information from pharmaceutical manufacturers. The intent of the regulations and the accompanying guidelines is described. An illustration from the news media is cited to show an alternative, positive approach to handling an adverse event report.

DATA SOURCES: This review uses primary sources from the federal laws (regulations), commentaries, and summaries. Very complex topics are briefly summarized in the text and additional readings are presented in an appendix. Secondary sources, ranging from newspaper articles to judicial summaries, illustrate the interpretation of adverse drug events and opportunities for drug safety surveillance intervention.

STUDY SELECTION: The reference materials used were articles theoretically or practically applicable in the day-to-day practice of drug safety surveillance.

DATA SYNTHESIS: The role of clinical drug safety surveillance in product monitoring and drug development is described. The process of drug safety surveillance is defined by the Food and Drug Administration regulations, product labeling, product knowledge, and database management. Database management is subdivided into the functions of receipt, retention, retrieval, and review of adverse event reports. Emphasis is placed on the dynamic interaction ;of the components of the process. Suggestions are offered to facilitate communication of a review of adverse event data for various audiences.

CONCLUSIONS: Careful drug safety surveillance is beneficial to the health of the public and the commercial well-being of the manufacturer. Attention to basic principles is essential and, as illustrated, may be sufficient to resolve some problems.

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