UAE- 'Drug alerts on the rise but this can be a good trend'

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)The number of drug alerts in the UAE is expected to rise this year but this does not reflect a negative trend in drug safety.

Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri assistant undersecretary for public health policy and licensing in the Ministry of Health (MoH) told Khaleej Times it is in fact a positive sign for pharmacovigilance in the UAE.

"An increase in the number of drug alerts shows we are successfully tackling the manufacture sale and use of illegal products. A decrease in complications reported is also a good sign."

He was speaking on the sidelines of the fifth National Pharmacovigilance Conference in Dubai on Wednesday. In 2014 the MoH issued 388 drug alerts. This number is expected to rise to 420 by the end of 2015 - accounting for about 1.2 drug alerts every day.

"The patient's safety is our main priority when it comes to building a robust pharmacovigilance (PV) environment in the UAE" he said. In the US adverse drug reactions (ADR) cost the healthcare sector more than $30 billion dollars each year. Though there is no specific figure highlighting the annual cost of ADRs in the Mena region Dr Amiri said it is likely to be more than that of the US.

In collaboration with the health ministry in Morocco the MoH is working towards adopting a unified electronic system where all drug alerts in the Mena region can be electronically distributed throughout the countries Dr Amiri said.

"I cannot confirm when this will be up and running but once implemented it will further strengthen the PV environment in the region."

The two-day conference which concludes today will see national level participation from over 200 pharmacists from the UAE and GCC countries.

Kelly Clarke

Khaleej Times

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