European drug regulations aim for a patient-centered approach, including involving patients in the pharmacovigilance (PV) systems. However many patient organisations have little experience on how they can participate in PV activities.
The aim of this study published in Drug Safety, was to understand patient organisations’ perceptions of PV, the barriers they face when implementing PV activities, and their interaction with other stakeholders and suggest methods for the stimulation of patient organisations as promoters of PV.
A sequential qualitative method study was conducted and integrated with the quantitative study performed by Matos, Weits, and van Hunsel to complete a mixed method study.
The qualitative phase expands the understanding of the quantitative results from a previous study by broadening the knowledge on external barriers and internal barriers that patient organizations face when implementing PV activities. The strategies to stimulate patient-organisation participation are the creation of more awareness campaigns, more research that creates awareness, education for patient organisations, communication of real PV examples, creation of a targeted PV system, creation of a PV communication network that provides feedback to patients, improvement of understanding of all stakeholders, and a more proactive approach from national competent authorities.
Both study phases show congruent results regarding patients’ involvement and the activities patient organisations perform to promote drug safety. Patient organisations progressively position themselves as stakeholders in PV, carrying out many activities that stimulate awareness and participation of their members in drug safety, but still face internal and external barriers that can hamper their involvement.