Pharmacovigilance teaching in UK undergraduate pharmacy programmes

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Pharmacists in the UK are able to report spontaneous adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority. The level of reporting by UK pharmacists remains low. This could be explained by poor knowledge of ADR reporting. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the level of pharmacovigilance education provided to pharmacy students on undergraduate pharmacy programmes in the UK.


A cross-sectional survey was used to obtain data relating to the teaching of pharmacovigilance within schools of pharmacy. The survey was designed to reveal whether core elements pertinent to pharmacovigilance and specifically to spontaneous reporting were taught and to what extent.


All of the respondents taught pharmacovigilance within an assessed compulsory module. A small number (23%) did not include pharmacovigilance law within their syllabus. In 54%, the amount of time devoted to teaching pharmacy students about their role in pharmacovigilance was less than 4 h in the 4-year course; only one respondent spent approximately 20 h, the remaining respondents (38%) spent between 4 and 8 h.


The amount of time dedicated to the teaching of pharmacovigilance on pharmacy undergraduate degree programmes is low. Considering the importance of spontaneous reporting in drug safety and the shift in the role of the pharmacists, more time may need to be devoted to pharmacovigilance on pharmacy undergraduate courses. By doing so, new pharmacists would be more informed of the important role they play in drug safety and thereby potentially help enhance the level of ADR reporting. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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