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The Challenge of Effectively Communicating Risk-Benefit Information

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Summary

Although the techniques involved in drug safety monitoring (pharmacovigilance) have dramatically improved in recent years, communication of these issues to health professionals and the public lags far behind. Several measures need to be taken in order to address this discrepancy.

A climate of greater openness concerning the basis of merit assessments must be created. We need to develop merit-assessment formulations that are more accurate and helpful when treating individual patients in clinical situations. All of the involved groups must be educated about the nature of drugs and drug therapy, and the possibilities and limitations of such therapy. More effective techniques and systems have to be developed in order to stimulate higher rates of high quality spontaneous reporting of adverse effects. More conscientious and purposeful attention to the theory and practice of communications, in order to ensure the effective delivery of optimal benefits to patients, clinicians and society at large, would also be advantageous.

We must ensure that where issues of public health and confidence in the medical profession are at stake, we employ the very best communications practices.

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Correspondence to I. Ralph Edwards.

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Edwards, I.R., Hugman, B. The Challenge of Effectively Communicating Risk-Benefit Information. Drug-Safety 17, 216–227 (1997). https://doi.org/10.2165/00002018-199717040-00002

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