The combined resources of member countries and UMC give members of the WHO Programme access to expertise, information, and tools to support the operation of their pharmacovigilance systems and the vision of the safer use of medicines.
In each participating country, the ministry of health establishes a pharmacovigilance centre with responsibility for the safety of medicines and for contact with WHO in this specific field. Members have access to the resources of UMC to support their work. They enjoy many benefits from being part of the global pharmacovigilance community; there are obligations, too, such as regularly making their crucial contributions of data to VigiBase, the WHO global database of individual case safety reports (ICSRs). Members also disseminate decisions about the causes of harm that their patients have suffered and share support, advice and experience. Some countries take part in regional consultations and training; all countries have the opportunity of attending the annual WHO Programme meeting.
Resources and benefits of membership of the WHO Programme include:
Membership obligations: to ensure that the international data is as up-to-date as possible, member countries are asked to send ICSRs to UMC at least every quarter, preferably more frequently. The reports must be submitted in E2B compatible format, with attention to both the quality and completeness of the data. The data is stored in VigiBase, in a structured, hierarchical form to allow easy and flexible retrieval and analysis. VigiBase is the largest and most comprehensive source of data about the adverse effects of medicines in the world. It is maintained and developed by UMC on behalf of WHO.