This blog was originally published on the MTaPS website
Written by Comfort Ogar, Andualem Oumer, and Jane Briggs.
Many accounts of the history of pharmacovigilance take their root in the thalidomide disaster of the 1960s that led to thousands of babies born with phocolemia, a condition that adversely affects limbs. The babies’ mothers had used thalidomide to treat nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy. Thanks to the vigilance of health care workers at the time, medical safety surveillance systems were birthed—60 years later, pharmacovigilance (detecting, assessing, understanding, and preventing adverse effects of medicines and other medicine-related problems) remains critical to ensuring the safety of medicines, including for mothers and newborns.