After taking off in the UK, WEB-RADR, a revolutionary means of reporting adverse incidents, is expanding its presence across Europe. The WEB-RADR app – an integral element of the WEB-RADR project and itself part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative –which makes reporting significantly easier for patients, carers and healthcare professionals alike, has now been launched in the Netherlands.
The WEB-RADR app was originally launched in the UK on July 14 under its Yellow Card reporting scheme. Its latest uptake by the Netherlands’ adverse incident centre, LAREB, is an indication of its real value in boosting the safety of medicines.
Available as a free-access mobile app – available on both iOS and Android operating systems – it builds on the quick take-up of smartphones, apps and social media to discuss health and medicine issues.
Today, patients generally report ADRs to their physician. Paper-based report forms are not always available, though, and are often seen as inconvenient and complex. Moreover the reporting process can be slow and inefficient, with side effects remaining undetected until sufficient numbers are filed.
The WEB-RADR project will also form part of a wider approach. This is about engaging patients to report not only adverse effects but also benefits and data that would allow measuring outcomes. Both, pharmacovigilance and reporting/measuring outcomes require tools for increased patients engagement and empowerment. IMI is facilitating steps towards this objective.
The WEB-RADR app represents a clear breakthrough in the field of pharmacovigilance, catapulting those systems that it onboards into the digital age. This represents an obvious triumph for patient safety.
In fact all patients ultimately will benefit from these types of approach. Social media websites and mobile phone apps enable and encourage users to create, share, and exchange information and experiences instantly, and are now used by over one billion people globally. WEB-RADR aims to develop new ways of using these technologies and channels of communication for pharmacovigilance purposes the world over.
Readied in September 2014, WEB-RADR was initially planned as a three-year project within the framework of IMI, the world’s biggest public-private partnership in life sciences. IMI is jointly financed by the European Union and EFPIA, although it is important to stress that EFPIA member companies contribute voluntarily and do not receive any funding from IMI or other contributors.
Since its inception, the aim of the IMI WEB-RADR project has been to harness the power of social media and new technologies for pharmacovigilance purposes. It works on the logical principle that innovative pharmacovigilance practices should rely on innovative communication technologies.
It has a number of novel and revolutionary applications beyond mobile reporting, such as the ability to create a watch list of medicines that can be tracked for regular news and alerts. What’s more, it has a flexible framework, which means that it can be updated at regular intervals based on user feedback.
The WEB-RADR app is catching on across Europe, with Croatia set to launch the app next. There also good news from the UK, which has undergone a mini revolution of its own: while you can still only use the app there to report side effects experienced in the UK, people with phones bought abroad can now use the app in the country.
WEB-RADR’s aim, though, is to ensure that its mobile phone app is useable for the reporting of all ADRS to all EU regulators. A plan is therefore being developed to create on creating a general framework, which other regulatory agencies can adopt and adapt to their own requirements.4