In Europe, changes to pharmacovigilance legislation, which include additional monitoring of medicines, aim to optimise adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting systems. The legislation also makes provisions related to the traceability of biological medicines.
The objective of this study was to assess (i) knowledge and general experience of ADR reporting, (ii) knowledge, behaviours, and attitudes related to the pharmacovigilance of biologicals, and (iii) awareness of additional monitoring among healthcare professionals (HCPs) in Ireland.
Hospital doctors (n = 88), general practitioners (GPs) (n = 197), nurses (n = 104) and pharmacists (n = 309) completed an online questionnaire.
There were differences in mean knowledge scores relating to ADR reporting and the pharmacovigilance of biologicals among the HCP groups. The majority of HCPs who use biological medicines in their practice generally record biologicals by brand name but practice behaviours relating to batch number recording differed between some professions. HCPs consider batch number recording to be valuable but also regard it as being more difficult than brand name recording. Most respondents were aware of the concept of additional monitoring but awareness rates differed between some groups. Among those who knew about additional monitoring, there was higher awareness of the inverted black triangle symbol among pharmacists (> 86.4%) compared with hospital doctors (35.1%), GPs (35.6%), and nurses (14.9%). Hospital pharmacists had more experience and knowledge of ADR reporting than other practising HCPs.
This study highlights the important role hospital pharmacists play in post-marketing surveillance. There is a need to increase pharmacovigilance awareness of biological medicines and improve systems to support their batch traceability.