Objective — To gain insight into the attitude and behaviour of community pharmacists in the Netherlands with respect to the reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs).
Method — A questionnaire survey was conducted among a stratified random sample of 200 community pharmacists from the membership list of the Royal Dutch Society for the Advancement of Pharmacy. The structured questionnaire covered knowledge of the Dutch ADR reporting system, attitudes to involvement in reporting ADRs and self-reported behaviour. Demographic details were requested and used to assess the representativeness of responders in relation to the total population of Dutch community pharmacists. The number of self-reported ADR reports was compared with those actually received by the nation's ADR centre.
Key findings — The response rate was 73 per cent (n=147) after one reminder. Community pharmacists regarded the reporting of ADRs as an integral part of their professional duties and they did not report experiencing any major barriers to reporting. This is reflected in the frequency and number of ADR reports received by the national pharmacovigilance centre. Comparison of pharmacists' self-reported numbers of ADR reports with actual reports received indicated that pharmacists overestimated the number of reports they made. The most frequently mentioned barriers to reporting were: the adverse effect assumed to be already known (32 per cent), the reporting procedure too time consuming (25 per cent), and uncertainty concerning the causal relationship between ADR and drug (25 per cent). Feedback was mentioned most commonly as the chief impetus for reporting, and this referred both to feedback on the report submitted and general feedback as provided in publications. Although consultation with the attending clinician before submitting a report is not compulsory in the Netherlands, 55 per cent of the pharmacists saw this as an important aspect in the reporting process.
Conclusions — Community pharmacists in the Netherlands are knowledgeable about reporting ADRs and highly motivated to do so. This positive attitude towards reporting adverse events is based on the established tradition of pharmacist reporting in the Netherlands.