Now online: Report adverse reaction to drugs, UAE residents urged

UAE residents must report adverse drug reactions (ADR) for any registered medicine — as well as fake or harmful drugs — to a government site to help guide health policy makers, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The service, called Tammini, is the e-services section on the Ministry of Health and Prevention website, said a top ministry official on Wednesday.

Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for licensing and public health policy at the ministry, delivering his key note address at the ministry’s 6 th Pharamacovigilance (PV) conference said: “Members of the public, physicians, nurses, pharmacists can report adverse drug reactions on our website on Tamimi.

This website contains all previous adverse alerts for anyone to refer to as well. Based on these complaints the Ministry officers examine and verify and then we issue regulations and notifications against the said drugs through media outlets to he general public.”

Last year the ministry received 824 alerts from people which was much higher than the 59 alerts that the ministry had received in 2013. “The numbers are higher because of the high level of awareness and education of the people and the alertness on vigilance ,” said Dr Al Amiri.

Pharmacovigilance is the science of collecting, assessing and evaluating the adverse reactions of drugs, herbal and traditional medicine on people’s health explained Dr Al Amiri.

The UAE Stands united and committed to the international cause of safe drug use. Dr Amiri pointed out that drugs do not have to be fake or counterfeit to cause Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR).

Even registered Medicines such as paracetamols, diabetes, cancer and cholesterol medication can cause a reaction if it is being over used or ingested by someone who had it random without proper prescription.”

With information available freely on the internet people self medicate.

They have become their own pathologists, physicians and pharmacists. Some people travel to Asian countries buy cheap medicines for themselves and also distribute to their relatives.

Nearly 90 per cent of medication such as food supplements, weight loss medications etc available online are fake,” said Dr Al Amiri.

The counterfeit market worldwide exceeds $ 100 billion and adverse drug reactions cost billions of dollars in saving lives apart from the loss of productivity of those affected and the additional health burden on countries.

Dr Amiri said the Ministry stood united with the pharma industry to be on high PV alert and act swiftly on early detection if ADR, quick control , quantifying the damage , preventing further da’age by regulating the drug and advocating safe use.

In 2016 the Ministry appointed 227 PV officers and in 2016 these officers reported 281 cases of ADR to the Uppasala Monitoring Committee that is constituted by all World Health Organisation registered countries advocating International safe drug use.

Dr Yacoub Haddad head of Pharmag the pharmaceutical organisation in UAE that co hosted the conference pledged total support to the health ministry. “People sometimes do die of an illness but no one must die because of a medicine. The goal of PV is to rationalize the use of drugs for its maximum benefit to humanity and with complete safety .”