Medication errors: pharmacovigilance centres in detection and prevention


Professor Rachida Soulaymani Bencheikh, MD, Moroccan Pharmacovigilance Centre, Rabat, Morocco.
Tel: 05 37 77 71 69
Fax: 05 37 77 71 79


1. Detecting medication errors needs collaboration between various organizations, such as patient safety institutions, pharmacovigilance centres, and poison control centres. In order to evaluate the input of pharmacovigilance centres and poison control centres in detecting and evaluating medication errors a pilot project was initiated by the World Alliance for Patient Safety in collaboration with the Uppsala Monitoring Centre; the Moroccan pharmacovigilance centre acted as project coordinator. As part of this project, a questionnaire on detecting medication errors was circulated to pharmacovigilance centres and poison control centres around the world, in order to assess their ability to detect and analyse medication errors.

2. The results showed that through their databases pharmacovigilance centres can detect, identify, analyse, and classify medication errors and carry out root cause analysis, which is an important tool in preventing medication errors.

3. The duties of pharmacovigilance centres in preventing medication errors include informing health-care professionals about the importance of reporting such errors and creating a culture of patient safety. Pharmacovigilance centres aim to prevent medication errors in collaboration with poison control centres. Such collaboration allows improved detection and improved preventive strategies. In addition, collaboration with regulatory authorities is important in finalizing decisions.

4. Collaboration between pharmacovigilance centres and poison control centres should be strengthened and bridges need to be built linking pharmacovigilance centres, poison control centres, and organizations dedicated to patient safety, in order to avoid duplication of workload.