Academic Network

Articles for February, 2009

Consumer Education of Online Adverse Event Reporting Needed Now

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The current peanut butter recall has raised red flags to the awareness, usefulness and timeliness of our current adverse event reporting system. Government agencies and private corporations are working together to seek fast reporting of incidents and improve coordination of efforts, however, ask the average consumer if they are aware of online reporting tools for adverse events and you will get the answer “No.”  Better yet, ask them what is an adverse event!

Thus a direct to consumer education program is clearly needed now. A good example of a good online reporting tool but with little awareness of it’s existance is the MedWatch form 3500 (click on the blue button on the right).  The FDA has created a video channel on YouTube and presence on Twitter, but a  targeted campaign effort to educate consumers through all media channels on the availability of this information has been overlooked and not stated properly to the public.

What are we waiting for…..hopefully, not the next big public health issue. Tools are available to monitor some of the chatter but a simplified system for consumers and healthcare workers to know how and where to report might be a simple solution. As we develop our online tools and advance efforts through social media, we must assure that we educate the public too. To report an adverse event online through the FDA here.  Find coverage here on RWW on how social media was effective in the peanut butter recall. And finally, find coverage here to see how the public assumed some major peanut butter brands were part of the recall but did not associate the recall with other products such as ice cream, snack foods, etc.