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. 2013 May;36(5):349-58.
doi: 10.1007/s40264-013-0043-9.

Pharmacovigilance Systems in Developing Countries: An Evaluative Case Study in Burkina Faso


Pharmacovigilance Systems in Developing Countries: An Evaluative Case Study in Burkina Faso

Lassane Kabore et al. Drug Saf. .


Background: Burkina Faso, like other Sub-Saharan African countries, has recently experienced a large-scale deployment of new medicines for the prevention and treatment of notable diseases of public health interest, including malaria, HIV/AIDS and meningitis. This new context rendered the implementation of pharmacovigilance necessary in order to monitor and establish the safety and effectiveness of these medicines. In 2008, the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso, West Africa, launched a formal pharmacovigilance system to respond to this need.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the early-stage pharmacovigilance system of Burkina Faso through a comprehensive and system-based approach with the prospect of identifying areas for improvements.

Methods: We conducted a descriptive cross-sectional study in Burkina Faso. Sixteen key informants from the National Drug Authority (NDA), public health programmes (PHPs) and hospitals were interviewed. Study participants were selected based on a convenience sampling in the NDA, three teaching hospitals, two regional hospitals and six PHPs. Data were collected using the Indicator-based Pharmacovigilance Assessment Tool (IPAT), a metric instrument recently designed and validated by 'Management Sciences for Health', a US non-profit organization. The evaluation also involved the collection and review of relevant pharmacovigilance-related documentation in the institutions assessed. A scoring system was used for the quantification of assessment results.

Results: The NDA of Burkina Faso, the institution statutorily in charge of pharmacovigilance, achieved a performance score of 70 %. The basic structures for pharmacovigilance activities were in place; however, the lack of specific laws dedicated to pharmacovigilance, the lack of national guidelines and standard operating procedures on pharmacovigilance, and the insufficient coordination of pharmacovigilance stakeholders in the country were identified as the main weaknesses. Safety data collected thus far have not led to the identification of local drug-related risks; yet, relevant external safety alerts are monitored and acted upon. In 2010, 31 marketing authorizations were modified to include new safety information; seven others were suspended and the corresponding medicines were withdrawn from the national market. In PHPs, pharmacovigilance activities were not formalized, and in hospitals, pharmacovigilance structures were still under development.

Conclusion: Relevant interventions aimed at strengthening the legal framework and structures for pharmacovigilance activities, and improving the coordination of stakeholders countrywide, should be undertaken as soon as possible. Such an investment is necessary before the national pharmacovigilance system is able to collect its own data, generate signals, evaluate and manage local medicine-related risks and then become a genuine tool for public health.

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