Pharmacovigilance is becoming an important topic and its scope is widening. Exchange of information among regulators, professionals working in pharmacovigilance centres, industry and communication of this information to consumers and the media are being recognized as some of its essential components. This is highlighted in an article found in this issue on the workshop which took place in Hong Kong immediately prior to the tenth International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities. A comprehensive study on adverse drug reactions to metamizole in Sweden has recently been published. We have abstracted this article in the section Drugs of Current Interest. It shows definitively that metamizole does carry a high risk of agranulocytosis in Swedish patients.
The third informal consultation meeting on Harmonizing Safety Monitoring was held in WHO, Geneva in early September. A major topic of discussion this year was the linking of pharmacovigilance with public health programmes including malaria, schistosomiasis and HIV/AIDS and ways in which pharmacovigilance could be integrated into these programmes to promote the safe and rational use of medicines.
A WHO-UMC training course on pharmacovigilance will be held in Canberra, Australia at the beginning of November. It is the first time such a course has been held outside Sweden and we are grateful to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia for hosting this. We hope to see a large number of you at this course.