Background: The assessment of the benefit-risk of medicines needs careful consideration concerning their patterns of utilization. Systems for the monitoring of medicines consumption have been established in many European countries, and several international groups have identified and described them. No other compilation of European working groups has been published. As part of the PROTECT project, as a first step in searching for European data sources on the consumption of five selected groups of medicines, we aimed to identify and describe the main characteristics of the existing collaborative European working groups.
Findings: Google and bibliographic searches (PubMed) of articles containing information on databases and other sources of drug consumption data were conducted. For each working group the main characteristics were recorded.Nineteen selected groups were identified, focusing on: a) general drug utilisation (DU) research (EuroDURG, CNC, ISPE'S SIG-DUR, EURO-MED-STAT, PIPERSKA Group, NorPEN, ENCePP, DURQUIM), b) specific DU research: b.1) antimicrobial drugs (ARPAC, ESAC, ARPEC, ESGAP, HAPPY AUDIT), b.2) cardiovascular disease (ARITMO, EUROASPIRE), b.3) paediatrics (TEDDY), and b.4) mental health/central nervous system effects (ESEMeD, DRUID, TUPP/EUPoMMe). Information on their aims, methods and activities is presented.
Conclusions: We assembled and updated information on European working groups in DU research and in the utilisation of five selected groups of drugs for the PROTECT project. This information should be useful for academic researchers, regulatory and health authorities, and pharmaceutical companies conducting and interpreting post-authorisation and safety studies. European health authorities should encourage national research and collaborations in this important field for public health.