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An Innovative System for Communicating Drug Risks to Patients
A Color-coded Risk Rating System That Delivers Personal Safety Alerts

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A conversation with Dr. Hugo Stephenson, Founder & President, iGuard

Aired LIVE on: Thursday, September 20, 2007

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Background

Anyone who has tried reading a drug label knows how difficult it is to understand. It is especially difficult for consumers and patients to understand and evaluate the potential risks associated with the use of Rx drugs.

A new study in the September 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found multiple problems with drug labels. The authors suggest that one way to improve readability and patient understanding of labels is for FDA to initiate a national standard for their format and content — much like it did with the Nutrition Facts labels required on food packaging.

In fact, the FDA recently invited food companies, trade groups, watchdog organizations, medical experts and its overseas counterparts to share how front-label symbols, like the "traffic light" system used in Britain, can improve public health. Shouldn't the FDA champion a similar system to rate risks on drug labels?

That's the idea behind iGuard's Risk Rating system, which converts medical jargon into simple, actionable information. It assigns color-coded risk labels to drugs to communicate the risk of developing serious side effects. This system is not intended for drug labels, however. It is an online solution that patients can customize for their own use depending on the drugs they are taking.

Read some of the resources below for more information about drug risk communication and rating systems.

Questions/Topics Discussed

  • What is iGuard and how does it work?
  • Why is there a need for this type of communication today?
  • How can color-coded systems like iGuard's help to improve drug safety in the US?
  • How can both patients and physicians benefit from such systems?
  • Where do we go for more information?


Guest Bio

Dr. Hugo Stephenson
Dr. Stephenson is the Founder and President of iGuard, and is responsible for the overall vision of the iGuard service and business. His main tasks focus on ensuring that iGuard is a valuable resource to patients while building a successful and socially responsible enterprise.

Hugo brings to iGuard over 15 years experience in medicine, drug development and drug safety - including most recently serving as President for Quintiles Strategic Research and Drug Safety Division. He was an early pioneer in medical decision support, and is an internationally renowned expert on drug safety research - having steadily built support amongst patients, academics, pharmacists and physicians for a world where patients help scientists learn more about drug safety, and - in turn - scientists ensure that patients get better information, faster about the safety of their medicines.


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