Dr John Lisman, Netherlands
There are actually two worlds in the area of pharmaceutical products. The real world of prescribers and patients: medicines are prescribed for, and used by, patients, who may then have side-effects or adverse reactions, and may be cured. The other world is that of the drug regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry. For maximum effectiveness in public health terms, communication between the two worlds is important.
In today’s situation, there is little or no connection between the two worlds. Many pharmaceutical products are used “off-label” and some prescription drugs are used as over-the-counter products. In order to promote the rational use of medicinal products, crossing the border between these two worlds could have a positive impact on public health. Drug regulatory authorities should be more transparent and proactive in the dissemination of relevant drug information to the public, which will improve rational drug use and protection of public health.