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Virgin Islanders told to report medicine side-effects, reactions

Virgin Islanders told to report medicine side-effects, reactions

The Virgin Islands (VI) Ministry of Health and Social Development is encouraging persons to report suspected side effects of medicines as the VI joins over 80 countries in observing med safety week from November 7 to 13, 2022.

Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services, Mrs. Gracia Wheatley-Smith said the week’s focus will centre around the promotion of pharmacovigilance and reporting.

Mrs. Wheatley-Smith said medicines help but they can also harm, therefore, it is important that all users of pharmaceuticals monitor themselves closely when using prescription medicines and report any experienced side or adverse reactions.

She also noted that regulators operate systems to detect and analyse reported side effects and use this information to implement actions that can prevent harm to future patients.

The Chief of Drugs said a side effect is ‘any unintended effect of a pharmaceutical related to the pharmacological properties of the drug’ and an adverse drug reaction (ADR) is ‘a response to a medicine which is harmful, very unpleasant and unintended, and which occurs at doses normally used in man’.


Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services, Mrs. Gracia Wheatley-Smith said the week’s focus will centre around the promotion of pharmacovigilance and reporting.

Side effects can be reported via email or telephone

The community is urged to report any side effect or ADR to the Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services via telephone at 468-9850 or email at grwheatley-smith@gov.vg.

“These experiences, Mrs. Wheatley-Smith said can be fatal, life-threatening, permanently and significantly disabling, may require a hospital visit or may prolong hospitalization, can cause congenital anomaly and may require intervention to prevent permanent impairment or damage.

According to the Chief of Drugs, reporting side effects and ADRs help to improve the safety of medicines for all users and in some cases can result in better-tailored prescribing advice by doctors.

“By reporting side effects and ADRs patients will be actively participating in identifying emerging safety issues with medicines, so that the ministry can take actions when necessary and protect you and others from harm,” Mrs. Wheatley-Smith said.
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