Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilnce - INTRODUCTION
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Pharmacoepidemiology is the “study of the use of and the effects of drugs in large numbers of people”. It borrows heavily from methods used in general epidemiology.  Areas of focus in pharmoepidemiology are: costs of medicines; patterns and determinant s of consumption; quality of drug use and dispensing; effectiveness of   drugs; drug related policies; formulation of treatment guidelines; and drug supply problems. 

Pharmacovigilance is also known as Drug Safety and is a pharmacological science.  Its main focus is the collection, detection, assessment, monitoring, and prevention of adverse effects and medication errors caused by pharmaceuticals and medical deveices. The word Pharmacovigilance is derived from the Greek and Latin words pharmakon and vigilare which mean “drug” and “to watch out respectively”. The prevalent of drug induced adverse effects is very high.  Medication errors such as overdose, misuse and abuse are common. Pharmacovigilance is considered to be a branch of Pharmacoepidemiology.

In Kenya, pharmacovigilance activities were initiated and co-ordinated by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board which is a World Health Organisation/Uppsala Monitoring regional  center for pharmacovigilance. Online reporting of mediation errors and adverse drug reactions can be done at www.pv.pharmacyboardkenya.org.