Drug Safety Matters

Drug Safety Matters

Drug Safety Matters brings you the best stories from the world of pharmacovigilance. Through in-depth interviews with our guests, we cover new research and trends, and explore the most pressing issues in medicines safety today. Produced by Uppsala Monitoring Centre, the WHO Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring.

Episodes

April 29, 2022 33 min

With the right care, people infected with HIV can lead long and healthy lives. But as with any life-long medical treatment, it is important to acknowledge and manage any side effects. Henry Zakumumpa from Makerere University School of Public Health tells us about the potential harms of new HIV therapies and the challenges faced by pharmacovigilance specialists in Uganda.

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  • How dolutegravir-based HIV therapies compa...
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    Access to medical products has increased considerably in Africa in recent years, but safety monitoring systems haven’t exactly kept pace and many African countries still struggle to address safety issues. We sat down with Eleni Aklillu and Abbie Barry of the PROFORMA project to learn about their efforts to strengthen pharmacovigilance capacity in East Africa – especially within public health programmes.

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  • How comor...
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    People’s perception of risk can vary greatly from person to person, making it challenging for healthcare professionals to communicate benefits and harms of medicines in a balanced fashion. Alexandra Freeman from the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication discusses how to give patients the information they need to decide what's best for them.

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  • Why people perceive risks so differently
  • Why medical commu...
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    The loss of vital health records is a universal problem for refugees. When their medical information goes missing, patients are less likely to receive the care they need and more likely to be prescribed the wrong treatments. Thankfully, the International Society of Pharmacovigilance Egypt Chapter and the Palestine Red Crescent Society are taking on this problem, to reduce medication errors and improve reporting practices.

    This episo...

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    Statistical tools can not only cut through the noise in large pharmacovigilance databases. They can also help identify more clinically meaningful patterns in the data. Uppsala Monitoring Centre’s Jim Barrett and Joe Mitchell explain how vigiGroup, a novel clustering algorithm, can bring value to signal detection.

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  • What the limits of traditional disproportionality analysis are
  • How clustering algorithms can improve c...
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    With vaccine hesitancy on the rise and misinformation spreading like wildfire on social media, drug safety specialists may have a hard time knowing how to talk about side effects without affecting people’s trust in vaccinations. Anthony Cox from the University of Birmingham and Daniel Salmon from the Institute for Vaccine Safety share their best advice for balanced and responsible vaccine safety communication.

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  • Wh...
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    It’s not always easy to choose the best medicine for a child. Some drugs are inappropriate for young patients, while others require special consideration or monitoring. For years, clinicians had only historical dogmas, word of mouth and their own experience to guide their choices. But a valuable new resource promises to change paediatric prescribing for the better.

    This episode is part of the Uppsala Reports Long Reads series – the ...

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    Fuelled by disinformation and an array of other cultural and economic factors, vaccine hesitancy is one of the greatest global health communication challenges of our times. But to craft the empathetic and tailored communication strategies required to boost confidence in vaccines, we first need to understand the difference between anti-vaccination belief and vaccine hesitancy.

    This episode is part of the Uppsala Reports Long Reads se...

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    Genetic variation is one of the reasons people differ in their response to medicines. Understanding that variation can inform more refined choices of drugs and doses – ultimately preventing undesired side effects. Join us as we discuss past, present and future of pharmacogenomics with Uppsala Monitoring Centre’s Qun-Ying Yue.

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  • How genetic biomarkers can guide medicine use and dosing recommendations
  • What we need to ...
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    With COVID-19 vaccinations rolling at full speed in many countries, there’s a lot of talk about vaccine safety monitoring. But what exactly does that mean and how should we be interpreting data on side effects? Uppsala Monitoring Centre’s Helena Sköld and Annette Rudolph walk us through the basics of vaccine pharmacovigilance.

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  • How suspected side effects are reported and studied around the world
  • Why a mere list of ...
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    While COVID-19 vaccinations are picking up speed in many wealthy countries, citizens of lower-income countries still face a long wait ­– and where demand exceeds supply, black markets tend to form. So to curb the spread of substandard and falsified products, says drug regulatory specialist Danini Marin, we must ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are distributed equitably around the world.

    This episode is part of the Uppsala Reports Long ...

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    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is not only a biological issue, but a complex social problem. As a consequence, changing the way patients, healthcare professionals and policymakers think about antibiotics will require input from both the natural and social sciences. In March 2021, the Uppsala Health Summit on “Managing antimicrobial resistance through behaviour change” tackled this very problem. We spoke to three key participants – ...

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    As the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, so did waves of viral misinformation. For pharmacovigilance manager Marco Tuccori, fighting the “infodemic” is a massive, but necessary, battle.

    This episode is part of the Uppsala Reports Long Reads series – the most topical stories from UMC’s pharmacovigilance magazine, brought to you in audio format. Find the original article here.

    After the read, Marco tells us how the pandemic ha...

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    By definition, a rare disease is one that only affects a handful of people in the world. But with more than 300 million people collectively affected by these conditions and only few approved treatments available, rare diseases constitute a major unmet medical need. Christina Ström Möller from Swedish biopharmaceutical company Sobi walks us through the scientific, commercial and human challenges of the rare disease landscape.

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    As the cradle of modern humanity, the African continent is home to populations with high levels of genetic diversity. But while this diversity has implications for the safety and efficacy of many drugs, African patients remain underrepresented in drug studies. In fact, while more than 400 medicines have pharmacogenetics information and public guidelines available, only 15 have been studied in African populations. Thankfully efforts...

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    In the age of evidence-based medicine, we may be tempted to dismiss intuition – the quick and automatic thought process we call “sixth sense” or “gut feeling” – as unscientific guesswork. But in clinical decision-making, intuitive reasoning is just as important as the slower and more analytical causal reasoning that healthcare professionals are trained in. In fact, without it we would hardly be able to formulate new hypotheses.

    Toge...

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    In November 2020, longstanding UMC director Marie Lindquist began her well-earned retirement, leaving the reins of the organisation to her successor Hervé Le Louët. As she prepared to open a new chapter in her life, she sat down with Uppsala Reports to take a fond look back at an extraordinary career: a 40-year-long path that began with a knock on the door and turned her into one of the world’s leading advocates for patient safety.

    ...

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    Medication errors with vaccines can harm individual patients, but when they also undermine trust in public health programmes, serious problems can ripple across entire communities – as the Samoan healthcare crisis of 2018 dramatically showed. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices offers straightforward advice that could prevent those errors from happening again.

    This episode is part of the Uppsala Reports Long Reads series – t...

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    Clinical trials are the “gold standard” of evidence-based medicine – the best way we have to test whether a drug is safe and effective before it enters the market. But if trial data is poorly reported or – even worse – left unpublished, how are we supposed to determine the true value of a medical treatment? Peter Doshi from the RIAT Support Center has made it his mission to fix the problem and improve data transparency for good.

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    Communication and public outreach are an important part of a scientist’s job. But researchers often find it daunting to translate their expert knowledge for a lay audience. In this episode, UMC’s video producer Matthew Barwick shares a report from the Global Science Film Festival 2019, including interviews with festival organiser Samer Angelone and other participants. Tag along to learn their best tips for effective science communi...

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