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Medicine Safety Education

Medicine Safety Education

Medicine Safety Education

A resource for health care providers and patients

Part of our responsibility as a global pharmaceutical company is to help keep the patients who take our medicines safe. At Pfizer, our commitment to medicine safety begins in the research laboratory—and continues for as long as the medicine is prescribed to patients anywhere in the world.

As part of this commitment, we have developed this interactive educational section in pfizer.com to help health care providers, public health professionals, patients, and caregivers learn more about medicine safety. "Understanding Risk", "Medicine Safety Timeline", and "Partnering to Protect Patients" have been developed for professional audiences. "Medicine Safety for Patients" has helpful information developed especially for patients and caregivers.

Choose the section of the site you would like to visit by clicking on an image below.

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Medicine Safety for Patients

Your Role in Medicine Safety

When it comes to taking medicine, you play an important role in ensuring your safety—and the safety of those you care for. By partnering with health professionals involved in your care, you can help them determine which medicines are most appropriate for you or your dependents. Partnering also helps your health care professionals teach you how to take these medicines safely.

In this section, you'll learn how to reduce your risks of medication safety problems at key points in your care:

  • At your doctor's visit
  • When you fill your prescription
  • When you take your medicine
  • After you take your medicine

Who plays a role in medicine safety?

  • Pharmaceutical companies that develop, test, and produce medicines
  • Regulatory agencies that approve the use of medicines—like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or European Medicines Agency (EMA)
  • Health care professionals who prescribe medicines
  • Pharmacists who dispense and provide counsel regarding your medicine
  • Patients and caregivers who take medicines or give medicines to those they care for

What is involved in approving a medicine?

All medicines have benefits as well as risks. Before any new medicine is approved by regulatory agencies such as the EMA or the FDA, it undergoes extensive testing—usually in several thousand people. The goal of this testing is to determine how safe and effective the medicine is—and to show that its benefits outweigh the known risks. A medicine is approved for use by appropriate patients only when its benefits have been adequately shown to outweigh the risks for its intended use in those patients.

> Next: Partnering With Your Health Care Professional

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Understanding Risk

Understanding Risk

Like many aspects of life, taking medicine involves benefits and risks. But often, the benefits that medicines provide to our health outweigh the potential risks. Learning more about risk—and how to put it in perspective—can help both patients and doctors make important decisions about health and treatment.


In this section, you will explore the fundamentals of risk:

  • Perceiving risks: Learn more about factors that affect risk perception—and why perceptions about risk may not always reflect the actual risk involved.
  • Viewing risks: Take an in-depth look into the statistics used to evaluate risk.
  • Monitoring and communicating evolving risks: Find out how pharmaceutical companies and regulators weigh benefits and risks when making decisions about medicines.

> Next: Perceiving Risk

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Medicine Safety Timeline

Medicine safety: An ongoing process

Patient safety is a paramount concern throughout the life of a medicine—and pharmaceutical companies have ethical and regulatory responsibilities to monitor the safety of the medicines they sell for as long as they are used by patients anywhere in the world.

Explore this section to view how safety is integrated into every phase of testing and development, and how efforts to manage potential safety issues in approved medicines continue for many years.

An important note for patients

Please note that all are welcome to explore the medicine safety timeline. However, this section is intended primarily for health care professionals.

> Next: Timeline: Drug Development Overview

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Partnering to Protect Patients

All medicines have benefits and risks—and individual patients react to medicines differently. That is why patients must work with their doctors to carefully weigh the benefits of a medicine against its risks for their individual situation—and make the choice that's right for them.

To help protect patients, an extensive network is in place to identify and manage possible safety concerns associated with the medicines they take.

Click on the connection between any two of the images below to see how that partnership works as part of the larger network.

An important note for patients

Please note that all are welcome to explore this section. However, some of the information provided is intended primarily for health care professionals.

Next: > Regulatory Agencies & the Pharmaceutical Industry

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