PHARMACOVIGILANCE IN THE ERA OF COVID-19: A CONCISE REVIEW OF THE CURRENT SCENARIO, IMPLICATIONS, AND CHALLENGES
The pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has now affected the entire globe, which was first surfaced in China in December 2019. In the absence of effective therapy to manage COVID-19, repurposed therapies were being used to manage the condition. In view of an urgent need for definitive therapy, multiple repurposed drugs and investigational drug candidates are being tried in clinical trials, which may lead to the emergence of unknown short term and long term adverse drug reactions (ADRs), and hence it is crucial to assess the safety of the tried therapeutic interventions. The lag in the pharmacovigilance activities in the midst of this pandemic foster under-reporting of ADRs. Difficulty in causality assessment due to factors like wide variations in clinical presentation, concomitant use of multiple drugs, associated comorbidities, drug-drug and drug-disease interaction, which forestalls the appropriate causality assessment. Hydroxychloroquine, a repurposed antimalarial drug, has been a part of hue and cry at present because of its in-question safety in patients with cardiac disorders. National and International Drug monitoring centers have stressed upon reporting of ADRs and to boost up the process and come up with various recommendations. We can overcome these issues by working cohesively, motivating HCPs and patients to report ADRs electronically, and by setting up dedicated pharmacovigilance rapid response team to tackle the issues at the earliest.
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