The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) has developed a reporting system called ‘MedWatch’ to collect information on adverse events associated with drug use. MedWatch was founded in 1993 and its thrust area was to prepare a database to record the experiences of adverse effects of medications and prescription drugs.

MedWatch encourages patients, medical practitioners and pharmacists to report any such event by post, fax, phone (1-800-FDA-1088) or through an online medium. Many would have a notion that the online mode of communication to MedWatch is the easiest but it isn’t the case. To fill the online form, you may take several attempts to actually find the form at the first place. As you may end up clicking several sites before you actually find the adverse drug outcome form webpage.

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Researchers from University of North Carolina and Children’s Hospital Boston have looked for an easier mode of reporting through a mobile form, a lot less cumbersome to those who would want to report on the effects of prescribed drugs. MedWatcher: Drug Safety Reporting is a free app compatible with iOS 4 Devices like iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad. Through this app people can directly report the FDA on the adverse effects of prescription drugs through their iOS 4 mobiles.

The researchers wanted to encourage drug safety surveillance and considered it imperative to upgrade the reporting format to keep a track of developments related to prescribe medications. The MedWatcher app empowers people to be a part of the forum for the overall health and well being of the public. The app will allow drug researchers to shortlist the problems associated with certain medication and its use. It will also help them enhance the productivity and potency of drugs as required and perhaps even contain a drug production & use which may have deleterious effects on the patient.

The app periodically provides important notices and updates on drug regimes which are currently in use and this would encourage patients and healthcare professionals to download it to keep a close tab on the whereabouts of various drugs.

The usage of the app on a mobile device is very easy as after selecting the drug to be reported and following the directions as displayed in the images. The navigation is simple and lucid for any user to do reporting about a drug; only the drug database needs to be enhanced regularly as newer drugs are available over the counter.

A large number of people reporting about a particular drug’s adverse effects can encourage research on the same. Epidemiological and new drug research can initiated based on the outcome from the MedWatcher app. People no longer have to remember to return to their homes to update the reporting form as they can do the same whole on the move.

With the increasing number of iOS 4 enabled mobile devices being sold in the last few years; it is only a matter of time before people actively start using the Med Watcher app on their cell phones.

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