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Unlocking the Importance of IDMP Standardization in Pharmacovigilance

Within pharmacovigilance (PV), safeguarding patient well-being through vigilant monitoring of medicinal products stands as a paramount objective. At the heart of this mission lies the imperative of standardizing information concerning these products. The Identification of Medicinal Products (IDMP) standards, crafted under the auspices of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), emerge as pivotal in this arena. These standards furnish a universal framework for the unique identification of medicinal products, thus constituting a cornerstone for enhancing pharmacovigilance endeavors. 

IDMP standards are a set of five ISO standards (ISO 11615, ISO 11616, ISO 11238, ISO 11239, and ISO 11240) that specify the unique identification and description of medicinal products. These standards cover elements such as:

  • Medicinal Product Identification (ISO 11615): Details about the product, including name, form, strength, and administration route.

  • Pharmaceutical Product Identification (ISO 11616): Information on the specific formulation of the product.

  • Substance Identification (ISO 11238): Data on the substances used in the product.

  • Controlled Vocabulary for Dosage Forms, Units of Presentation, Routes of Administration, and Packaging (ISO 11239): Standard terms to describe these elements.

  • Units of Measurement (ISO 11240): Standards for the units of measurement used in the description of medicinal products.


Enhancing data quality and consistency is one of the primary benefits of IDMP standardization in the enhancement of data quality and consistency. By using a unified set of standards; regulatory authorities, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical companies can ensure that the information exchanged is accurate, reliable, and consistent across different systems and regions. This uniformity is crucial for effective pharmacovigilance as it allows for the precise tracking and monitoring of medicinal products globally. Facilitating  regulatory compliance with regulatory requirements is a significant concern for pharmaceutical companies. IDMP standards provide a clear framework that aligns with the regulatory expectations of various international authorities, including the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By adhering to these standards, companies can streamline their processes for regulatory submissions, ensuring that all necessary information is provided in a standardized format, which simplifies the review and approval process. Improving adverse event reporting and management is a cornerstone of pharmacovigilance. The standardized information provided by IDMP facilitates the accurate reporting of adverse events by ensuring that the details of the medicinal products involved are correctly identified. This accuracy is crucial for detecting potential safety signals and taking appropriate actions to mitigate risks associated with medicinal products. Moreover, it enhances the ability to perform robust data analysis and identify trends or patterns in adverse events. Enabling interoperability across systems in today's digital age with the ability to share information seamlessly across different systems and platforms is essential.

IDMP standards promote interoperability by providing a common language for the identification and description of medicinal products. This interoperability is particularly important for integrating data from various sources, such as electronic health records (EHRs), clinical trial databases, and regulatory submission systems. It ensures that all stakeholders have access to the same high-quality data, facilitating more effective collaboration and decision-making. Supporting global pharmacovigilance efforts is inherently a global activity, as medicinal products are often marketed and used across multiple countries. IDMP standards support global pharmacovigilance efforts by providing a harmonized approach to identifying and describing medicinal products. This harmonization enables regulatory authorities and other stakeholders to share and analyze safety data more efficiently on an international scale, leading to better identification of potential risks and more timely interventions.

 The standardization of medicinal product information through IDMP is a critical component of effective pharmacovigilance. These standards elevate data integrity and coherence, simplify regulatory adherence, refine adverse event reporting and management, foster interoperability, and fortify global initiatives. Amidst the dynamic healthcare milieu, embracing and enforcing IDMP standards emerges as pivotal in upholding public safety and propelling pharmacovigilance forward.

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