The safety profile of a medicinal product may change in the postmarketing environment. Safety issues not identified in clinical development may be seen and need to be evaluated. Methods of evaluating spontaneous adverse experience reports and identifying new safety risks include a review of individual reports, a review of a frequency distribution of a list of the adverse experiences, the development and analysis of a case series, and various ways of examining the database for signals of disproportionality, which may suggest a possible association. Regulatory agencies monitor product safety through a variety of mechanisms including signal detection of the adverse experience safety reports in databases and by requiring and monitoring risk management plans, periodic safety update reports and postauthorization safety studies. The United States Food and Drug Administration is working with public, academic and private entities to develop methods for using large electronic databases to actively monitor product safety. Important identified risks will have to be evaluated through observational studies and registries.
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