Side effects reports to FAMHP: encouraging developments despite underreporting by health care professionals

In 2017, FAMHP saw a 37% increase in the number of side effects reports received. This remarkable progress is an encouraging sign of ongoing improvements in the safety profiles of medicines; however, FAMHP would still like to encourage all health care professionals to report more side effects.

In 2017, FAMHP received 879 side effects reports from health care professionals and patients, which represented a 37 % increase from 2016. These figures are encouraging and they show remarkable progress, but the phenomenon of underreporting remains a concern for FAMHP. A total annual volume of 879 reports corresponds to a mere 2 to 3 reports per day in the entire Belgian territory.

Among patients, there is a constant and significant positive development. The possibility for patients to file reports has been in existence since 2012, in which year FAMHP received 23 reports from patients - against 411 in 2017. Year after year, patients are reporting more incidents that they suspect are caused by a medicine, as well as more side effects experienced by them.

The results are more nuanced for health care professionals, where we are seeing only a minor increase. Side effects are being reported mostly by physicians and pharmacists. Only seven side effects reports came from obstetricians, dentists and nurses. FAMHP is convinced of the positive contribution that these health care professionals can make, and would strongly encourages them to report all suspected and/or proven side effects to FAMHP.

FAMHP has also actively participated in two European awareness campaigns on reporting suspected side effects (2016 and 2017).

More information about reporting side effects may be found on the FAMHP website. Your comments and/or suggestions are always welcomed at

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