WHO-UMC Welcomes Bangladesh as 120th Full-Member Country

Bangladesh has become the 120th full-member country of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Drug Monitoring Center, known as WHO-UMC. Bangladesh is now part of this vital network promoting pharmacovigilance (PV) throughout the world. This membership will enable Bangladesh to continue to monitor adverse drug reactions (ADRs), maintain international standards of reporting, and increase in-country PV awareness through data sharing with other member countries.

The journey to receiving this WHO recognition started more than 20 years ago, according to Mr. Salim Barami, the director and head of the Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring (ADRM) Cell of the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA). In 1997, while participating in training in Thailand and working with Thailand’s national PV center, Mr. Barami first encountered the concept of an ADRM cell. Determined to establish a similar well-functioning national drug monitoring center in Bangladesh, he took the initiative to establish a cell in the Directorate solely for the purpose of monitoring ADRs, and the ADRM Cell was formed accordingly. However, due to lack of enthusiasm of other cell members, it eventually stopped functioning.

When the SIAPS Program began working with the DGDA in 2013, it provided technical assistance to revive the ADRM Cell and the Adverse Drug Reaction Advisory Committee (ADRAC) as part of health systems strengthening. The ADRM Cell and ADRAC began having meetings, with follow-up actions taking place at regular intervals. In September 2013, the ADRM Cell was declared as the National Drug Monitoring Center (NDMC) of Bangladesh. SIAPS also trained ADRM Cell members to effectively use Vigiflow, a web-based data management tool used by VigiBase, WHO’s global individual case safety report database, to upload ADR reports. Through Vigiflow, the DGDA successfully submitted the first batch of ADR case reports to Vigibase; the ADRM Cell has intensified the relationship by participating in PV trainings conducted by WHO-UMC. Currently, 30 hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are under DGDA’s PV program to maximize the submission of ADR reports to the center.