Past, present, and future of pharmacovigilance in Korea

Asia Pac Allergy. 2017 Jul;7(3):173-178. doi: 10.5415/apallergy.2017.7.3.173. Epub 2017 Jul 19.


As an essential part of patient safety, pharmacovigilance is of worldwide interest and should expand its scope and focus on new emerging issues. South Korea has been making continuous efforts in the field of pharmacovigilance for the last 3 decades since voluntary adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting system was first launched in 1988. Korea joined the World Health Organization Program for International Drug Monitoring in 1992, and the activities of Pharmacovigilance Research Network, Korean Society for Pharmacoepidemiology and Risk Management, and Regional Pharmacovigilance Center (RPVC) have contributed to the remarkable progress in the pharmacovigilance area and global status. RPVCs have played pivotal roles in establishment of pharmacovigilance system in Korea by monitoring voluntary ADR reports. RPVCs started with 3 hospitals in 2006 and have now expanded to 27 hospitals nationwide. The Korea Institute of Drug Safety & Risk Management was established in 2012 and in charge of operating the decentralized national pharmacovigilance system. The voluntary report of ADR, which is the basis of current pharmacovigilance system, has various limitations and an active surveillance system can be the overarching alternative. This change in pharmacovigilance paradigm is a global trend and Korea has excellent infrastructure such as broad distribution of electronic medical recording systems and a nationwide single healthcare insurance. As a result, the pharmacovigilance in Korea is now expected to progress to a new active surveillance system from traditional spontaneous reporting system.

Keywords: Adverse drug reaction reporting systems; Drug monitoring; Drug-related side effects and adverse reactions; Korea; Pharmacovigilance.

Publication types

  • Review