"We want to increase understanding of the industry's system for ensuring medicine safety," said Dr. Joseph M. Feczko, chief medical officer for Pfizer. "Currently, information about drug safety is available through numerous, but fragmented channels, which can be challenging for healthcare professionals and patients as they discuss the risks and benefits of various treatments. Patient safety is the top priority for Pfizer, and as an industry leader, we are using our collective experience and knowledge to address this critical public health need."
The educational website will be available for widespread use by everyone engaged in medicine safety communications and decision making in a unique, user-friendly way. Located at www.Pfizer.com/medicinesafety, the website uses cutting edge illustrations and interactive tools to educate about medicine safety. For example, patients will find information and questions to consider that will better prepare them for a doctorâs visit, as well as interactive tools on topics like how to read a medicine label. This is the first pharmaceutical industry website to prominently feature a link for reporting side effects from all medical products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
More than one-third of Americans surveyed in an April 2007 Harris Poll decided not to take a prescribed medicine because of safety concerns about risks and more than a quarter chose not to fill a prescription at all over safety concerns.
"With the population aging and medicine use increasing, information about medicine safety is more important than ever before,â added Gretchen S. Dieck, Ph.D., senior vice president, Safety and Risk Management for Pfizer. âYet surveys of practicing physicians, health policy experts and the general public have revealed a lack of understanding of the fundamental safety science, processes and terminology. This can contribute to misinformed decisions by patients about treatment options, which can lead to sub-optimal health outcomes."
The medicine safety education initiative is the latest in a series of activities demonstrating Pfizer's continuing commitment to become more open and accountable with stakeholders.
- In 2002, Pfizer began to register its clinical trials on the public database www.clinicaltrials.gov. The company now registers all trials in patients and has more than 800 trials registered.
- Also in 2002, Pfizer began publicly reporting U.S. political contributions.
- In 2004, Pfizer began publicly posting the results of its clinical trials at www.clinicalstudyresults.org.
- Starting in December 2006, the company launched a regularly updated publicly-available website, describing compounds in its drug development pipeline and detailing their progress.
- In April 2007, Pfizer began reporting on FDA post-marketing commitments relating to safety, efficacy or the use of Pfizer medicines.
- Last May, Pfizer began publicly posting a list of U.S. medical, scientific and patient organization grants and charitable contributions made in the first quarter of 2008.
"An important reason for communicating more openly with stakeholders is to make sure that not just more, but better information is available to address important public health needs such as medicine safety," Dr. Feczko said. "We continually look for innovative ways to improve the medicine safety process and know more now than ever before about the safety profiles of our medicines. This is a result of enhanced safety studies, improved technology and methods of gathering information about patient experiences, and strengthened regulatory requirements."
Pfizer: Working Together for a Healthier World Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. We discover, develop, manufacture and deliver quality, safe and effective prescription medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both people and animals. We also partner with healthcare providers, governments and local communities around the world to expand access to our medicines and provide better quality health care and health system support. At Pfizer, 85,000 colleagues work every day to help people stay happier and healthier longer and to reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide.