Pharmacovigilance Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes in our Future Doctors - A Nationwide Study in the Netherlands

Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2017 May;120(5):475-481. doi: 10.1111/bcpt.12712. Epub 2017 Jan 11.


Pharmacovigilance centres monitor the safety of drugs, based on adverse drug reactions (ADRs) reported by doctors, pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies. However, the under-reporting of ADRs remains a major problem. Our aim was to investigate preparedness of future doctors for their role in pharmacovigilance, by assessing their pharmacovigilance awareness, skills and knowledge. The study was a nationwide e-survey among medical students (third to sixth year) of all eight medical schools in the Netherlands. The survey consisted of questions regarding pharmacovigilance awareness, skills and knowledge. Overall, 874 students provided informed consent and participated (response 12%). Almost all students (96%) intended to report serious ADRs in their future practice. Almost half (44%) of the students did not know where to report an ADR, and 78% did not know which items were necessary for a good-quality ADR report. While more than 78% of the students agreed that pharmacovigilance is an important topic in their medical education, only 26% found that their current curriculum covered pharmacovigilance adequately. Although ADR reporting is considered relevant and important among future doctors, many do not know where and what to report. This is highly undesirable and should have consequences for pharmacotherapy teaching.

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Curriculum
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Education, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Pharmacovigilance*
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires