Background: There has been a gradual decline over the years in the number of spontaneous reports of potential adverse drug reactions (ADRs) from general practitioners (GPs) in the Netherlands.
Objective: To reveal aspects of knowledge, attitudes and behaviour that can stimulate GPs to submit (more) ADRs.
Methods: Dutch GPs were divided into the following two groups based on their reporting behaviour during the period 2004-6: (i) active reporters; and (ii) non-reporters. A random selection from each group was sent a questionnaire, based on the Ajzen and Fishbein model, focussed on their reporting behaviour. The questions were subdivided into knowledge-related questions, attitude-related questions and questions about the influence of the professional environment.
Results: 700 questionnaires were completed, corresponding with an overall response of 47%. GPs who actively reported ADRs differed from their non-reporting colleagues: they had more knowledge on ADR reporting, were more interested in pharmacotherapy and more often had a positive example in their professional environment. Both reporting and non-reporting GPs considered it very important to comply with their professional environment.
Conclusion: Specific education and training of GPs on pharmacotherapy, preferably with extra attention to ADR reporting, is expected to improve ADR reporting. Improved communication of GPs with their fellow GPs and pharmacists as well as with their patients may further stimulate ADR reporting.