Objective: The pilot study was undertaken to investigate whether doctors and pharmacists in the private sector are willing to undertake Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) reporting, to analyse their perceptions with regard to ADR reporting and to determine whether the concept of sentinel reporters could be of value in Zimbabwe.
Design: An open, prospective study where a selected group of private general medical practitioners and community pharmacists were asked to report any suspected ADRs over a six month period and to complete a structured self administered questionnaire.
Setting: Private medical and pharmacy practices in Harare.
Subjects: General medical practitioners and community pharmacists.
Main outcome measures: Number of ADR reports received at Medicines Control Authority (MCA) and questionnaire responses.
Results: 19 reports were received from participants (eight pharmacists and five doctors) accounting for 79.2% of ADR reports to the MCA, during the study period. Seventeen (89.5%) of the reports generated from the study came from doctors. The 19 reports involved 15 different drugs, three (20%) of which had been registered in the last three years. Twelve questionnaires were completed. Serious and unexpected reactions were more likely to be reported. Most respondents knew what was expected and were willing to report, although five (41.7%) felt they were too busy. Seventy five percent of the doctors had not known that a reporting scheme existed in Zimbabwe and none of the participants had ever sent in a report prior to the study. Medical journals and the drug manufacturers were the most important sources of information about ADRs.
Conclusion: Simply having interested pharmacists and doctors on the look out for ADRs and increased reporting of ADRs to the MCA. There are willing health care personnel but there is a need for larger studies to see if sentinel reporting of ADRs is applicable on a country wide basis.