UNFORTUNATELY, many health professionals do not think to report adverse events that might be associated with medications or devices to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or to the manufacturer. That needs to change, and the FDA is taking steps to encourage that to happen.

Reports from health professionals of adverse events or product quality problems are essential to ensure the safety of drugs, biologicals, medical devices, and other products regulated by the FDA once they are introduced into the US market.

Even the large, well-designed clinical trials that are conducted to gain pre-market approval cannot uncover every problem that can come to light once a product is widely used. A new drug application, for example, typically includes safety data on several hundred to several thousand patients. If an adverse event occurs in perhaps one in 5000 or even one in 1000 users, it could be missed in clinical trials