From 6 to 13 November 2023, the FAMHP is taking part in the worldwide #MedSafetyWeek campaign, a cooperation between medicines regulators from more than 80 countries and several non-governmental organisations. The goal is to raise awareness about the importance of reporting side effects of medicines.
The focus of this year's campaign is "Who can report?" The campaign thus emphasises the key role of every patient, doctor, pharmacist and other healthcare professional who reports a side effect, thereby contributing to the safe use of medicines.
One of the key missions of the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) is to detect and analyse side effects of medicines. One of the goals of pharmacovigilance is to obtain more information about known side effects and to discover new and unexpected ones. Continually gathering and monitoring information based on notifications, enables us to identify the risks of using medicines and to take steps to minimise the damage.
Hugues Malonne, CEO of FAMHP, said:
"Last year, the FAMHP received over 6,000 reports of suspected side effects, the vast majority of which came directly from patients. But we are aware that these effects are underreported. Not all side effects are being reported. More reports of suspected side effects means that complications are detected sooner and measures can be taken more quickly. That's why this campaign aims to encourage everyone to report side effects. Every report by a patient or healthcare professional increases our knowledge about the benefits and risks of taking medicines."
Katrijn, 44 years old and cystic fibrosis patient:
"I suffer from cystic fibrosis, so I take a lot of medication. Last spring, I suddenly developed a painful burning sensation on my skin every time I went out on a lovely day. When I mentioned this to my doctor, he was quick to reassure me. This was a known side effect. We were able to adjust my treatment and the side effect disappeared. This shows that informing my doctor of this side effect helped me. And thanks in part to reports from other patients, my doctor was well aware of the possible side effects of my medication."
You can report a side effect to your doctor, pharmacist or directly to the FAMHP using the following website www.famhp.be/en/side_effect.