From 2 to 8 November 2020, medicines regulators around the globe will be joining forces to launch a social media campaign that raises awareness of adverse drug reactions. The theme for 2020 is ‘Your report matters’.
The Health Quality & Safety Commission is promoting the week with regular social media posts and celebrating some recent medication safety initiatives it has supported.
‘Reporting adverse drug reactions is an important step in efforts to improve patient safety,’ explains the Commission’s medication safety clinical lead Brendan Ng. ‘The more information available about adverse drug reactions, the better-informed health care professionals are. This then impacts how clearly they can inform consumers about any potential risks.’
The Commission aims to greatly reduce the number of New Zealanders harmed each year in our hospitals, general practices, aged care facilities and across the entire health and disability sector. One way is through understanding harm in relation to medicines.
‘Alongside our sector partners, we work to inform consumers about the potential side effects of their medicines as well as encourage them to report any effects to their health care provider,’ Ng says. ‘This is with a view to reducing risk and improving consumers’ health knowledge and their overall wellbeing.’
Recent projects and initiatives involving the Commission include more than 40 New Zealand pharmacists working together to develop new Choosing Wisely pharmacy recommendations. Choosing Wisely is a global initiative promoting a culture where low value and inappropriate clinical interventions are avoided, and patients and health professionals have well-informed conversations about their treatment options, leading to better decisions and outcomes. The Commission is one of several partners involved with Choosing Wisely in New Zealand.
The Commission supported a series of medicine information leaflets – My Medicines – being made available in te reo Māori. The My Medicines leaflets were developed for New Zealand health consumers by a team at Canterbury District Health Board made up of doctors and pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help keep language simple.
We helped to promote a series of resources about medication-related seizures published by ACC, which includes a flyer and booklet, ‘Some medicines for epilepsy, mental health, and pain can harm your unborn baby’, and a booklet for health professionals, ‘Benefits and risks of taking anti-seizure medicines for epilepsy, mental health, or pain’.