Institute of Pharmacovigilance Sciences launched to improve global drug safety research methods

22 March 2022

The  Drug Safety Research Unit has today launched a new global Institute of Pharmacovigilance Sciences.

A team of DSRU physicians, epidemiologists and biomedical scientists will study pressing medicine and vaccine safety issues, and contribute new or improved methods for conducting drug safety research, as part of their work for the Institute. External researchers will also be able to collaborate on projects.

The launch marks a major expansion in the DSRU’s expertise and 40-year track record in methodological and pharmacovigilance research.

The DSRU is hosting a webinar today with over 200 delegates from pharmaceutical companies, regulators, and academic institutions to introduce the new Institute and explain how people can make use of its resources, and collaborate on future research projects.

Professor Saad Shakir, Director of the DSRU, said: “We have always conducted research on important drug safety issues and methods used in pharmacovigilance. The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the global need for sharing not just new research findings, but new research methods for the most effective vaccine and medicine safety studies.

“Our aim is to study major pharmacovigilance issues, and new ways of conducting drug safety research, and share our findings and expertise to improve patient safety around the world.”

The new Institute will look at Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) methodology, expanding DSRU’s benefit-risk evaluation methods, as well as new methods, such as the application of artificial intelligence in pharmacovigilance.

It will also study long-term effects of medicines and vaccines which give many people causes for concern),and the safety of new and advanced products.

Among the launch webinar speakers are DSRU researcher, Samantha Lane, who will talk about her work creating a new methodology to check the impact of product withdrawals, such as when a regulator suspends or revokes a licence.

Dr Andrew Bate, from GSK, is also due to talk about his work using artificial intelligence in signal detection for pharmacovigilance. While Professor Gianluca Trifirò, from University of Verona, will explain his latest published research for the VALORE project, monitoring for side effects of biologic medicines given to patients in hospital. The side effects can be very serious but difficult to spot because patients are already sick and showing multiple symptoms.

The Institute will include DSRU’s existing research projects, the International Working Group (IWG) on Signal Detection and Management in Pharmacovigilance, and the Global Pharmacovigilance Observatory.

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