Union Health Minister inaugurates the 38th Annual Meeting of Representatives of National Pharmacovigilance Centres

Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission to become the first WHO Collaborating Centre for Safety of Medicines and Vaccines in the WHO South-East Asia Region

New Delhi: Mr J.P. Nadda, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare inaugurated the 38th Annual Meeting of Representatives of the National Pharmacovigilance Centres participating in the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring.

At the inaugural event it was announced that the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission is in the process of becoming the first WHO Collaborating Centre for Safety of Medicines and Vaccines in the South-East Asia Region.

Hosted annually by one of the WHO Member States, the meeting acts as a platform for countries to discuss current issues and concerns in pharmacovigilance.

This year, the meeting has been hosted by the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission, the National Coordinating Centre - Pharmacovigilance Programme of India with active support from WHO from 4-6 November 2015. More than 150 international delegates from over 57 countries are attending the meeting.

In his inaugural address, the Health Minister emphasized that the success of pharmacovigilance depends on the state of art reporting, cutting edge use of information and communications technology to process and analyze information for immediate corrective measures, which needs to be supported by a highly calibrated audit process.

The Minister applauded the WHO Collaborating Centres across the globe, which serve as platforms for knowledge transfer and act as catalysts for developing the next level good pharmacovigilance practices and awareness of adverse drug reactions and their reporting.

In her message, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region said, “The meeting is timely and expected to facilitate partnerships between WHO Member States, collaborating centres of WHO, Adverse Drug Reaction monitoring centres of the Pharmacovigilance Programme of India, industry and research institutions to showcase best practices of pharmacovigilance towards ensuring safety of medicines.”

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bhanu Pratap Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) highlighted that there are several challenges in medical sector and public health systems that have heightened the need for pharmacovigilance, such as medicines coming from countries where regulatory standards may not be very strong, increasingly dependence of people on online platforms for medical guidance and self-medication etc.

Other prominent dignitaries at the inaugural were: Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services, MoHFW; Mr K.B. Agarwal, Additional Secretary, MoHFW; Mr K.L. Sharma, Joint Secretary, MoHFW; Dr G.N. Singh, Secretary-Cum-Scientific Director, IPC; Dr Lembit Rägo, Head of Regulation Medicines and other Health Technologies, Essential Medicines and Health Products (EMP), WHO HQ and his colleagues Dr Clive Ondari, Coordinator, Safety and Vigilance of Medicines, WHO HQ; Dr Shanthi Pal, Group Lead, Medicines Safety, Safety & Vigilance, WHO HQ, and Ms Prakin Suchaxaya, Coordinator, Health Programmes, WHO Country Office for India.

Stressing the need to spearhead efforts to scale-up regulatory pharmacovigilance, modernize information exchange, collaboration and networking among national centres for pharmacovigilance, Dr Lembit Rägo, Head, Regulation of Medicines & other Health Technologies, WHO HQ said, “Integrating pharmacovigilance as an essential component of public health programmes (PHPs) is crucial for patient safety.”

Two pre-events preceded the main meeting: a workshop on the WHO ATC/DDD (Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification/ Defined Daily Dose) methodology and Drug Utilization Research from 2-3 November 2015 and “Let’s talk PV!, the second premeeting workshop conducted by the WHO Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring, the Uppsala Monitoring Centre, Sweden, on 3 November 2015.

The opening day of the meeting witnessed participation of delegates from regulatory agencies, academic institutions, collaborating centres, member states and industry. Problems of current interest, several areas of critical importance and advancements in pharmacovigilance were deliberated.

Over the past 30 years, the network of pharmacovigilance centres has grown immensely and the annual meetings have become a significant forum for discussions on advancement made in the area of safe medicines. The 37th Annual Meeting in 2014 was held in China, hosted by the Chinese Food and Drug Authority.

For more Information about the 38th Annual Meeting of Representatives of the National Pharmacovigilance Centres, please visit: http://whopvindia2015.com/

More about Pharmacovigilance Programme of India and WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring

Pharmacovigilance (PV) is defined as the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects or any other drug-related problem. The history of pharmacovigilance goes back nearly 50 years. In 1965, the 18th World Health Assembly resolution (WHA 18.42) drew attention to the need for adverse drug reaction monitoring. Further resolutions in 1966, 1967 and 1970 resulted in the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring (PIDM).

Initially, the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring (PIDM) consisted of 10 countries as its members. As of October 2015, 122 countries are full members in the programme and contribute to the WHO Global Database, VigiBase. The WHO Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring, the Uppsala Monitoring Centre manages and maintains VigiBase on behalf of WHO and its Member States. There are over 11 million reports of adverse reactions in VigiBase.

The Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (PvPI) has progressed considerably in the last few years. Supported by WHO, the programme has broadened its scope of activities and influence - providing a stage for discussions and partnerships in the area of pharmacovigilance.

For more information, please contact: Mr Rajeev Varma
Senior Communications Officer
WHO India Country Office
New Delhi
Tel: 91-11-47594800
Mobile: +91 8826611139
E-mail:varmar@who.int

Visit our website: All press releases, fact sheets and other WHO media material may be found at http://www.searo.who.int/india

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