Adverse Events, Serious or Not?

By Norma Skolnik

This month’s Ask the Expert question on Serious Adverse Events Reporting is answered by Independent Consultant, Norma Skolnik. Norma has over 35 years of regulatory experience working with the pharmaceutical, OTC drug, and dietary supplement industries. Prior to consulting, she served as Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Americas for Cadbury Adams until her retirement. She also held the positions of Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Adams Division of Pfizer and Associate Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Warner-Lambert company.

Question: Should you report an Adverse Event if you’re not sure whether or not it’s really “serious”?

Answer: If in doubt, you should always report an adverse event for any prescription drug, OTC drug or dietary supplement. FDA’s definition of “Serious Adverse Event” per 21 CFR 310.305(b) covers “any adverse experience that results in any of the following outcomes: Death, a life-threatening adverse experience, hospitalization, a persistent or significant disability/incapacity, or a congenital anomaly/birth defect.”However, Emergency Room treatment is also often considered to be a serious event and usually reported to the FDA. Furthermore, if a consumer believes an event to be serious, it must be investigated and most likely reported. Many companies are reluctant to report because they’re afraid that submission of a Serious Adverse Event report via the required MedWatch (3500A) form is an admission that your product caused the adverse event but this is not the case.

Posted in 2018 April, Ask the Expert.