Our Sources

This tool has been used to detect virus outbreaks, and now Google is allowing the public access to their data. Such information might be used to predict “outbreaks” of side effects, or to see what pharmaceutical-related terms are occupying searches.

Signal Newsletter

This newsletter, published by the WHO, alerts subscribers of potential pharmacovigilance issues based on internal safety reports.

FDA E-mail Alerts

By subscribing to several FDA e-mail alerts, we keep abreast of any recalls, warning letters, or safety alerts issued.

FDA's MAUDE

MAUDE is a database of medical device adverse events reported to the FDA.

Effectively utilizing MAUDE requires a high degree of technical skill. We employ specialized data mining techniques to access MAUDE’s information quicker and more efficiently.

Alerts from International Drug Agencies

In addition to monitoring FDA activity, we also monitor the activity of international drug agencies. It is not uncommon for these agencies to issue warnings about drugs before the FDA. For example, Japan previously withdrew Tamiflu from the market due to concerns that it might cause adolescents to become suicidal.

Here are a few examples of the international agencies we monitor:

There are many, many more not listed here.

Website Monitoring

Using the Chrome Page Monitor, we can receive automatic alerts when a webpage has been updated or changed. Utilizing this technology, we can keep a close eye on the official product page, the Corporate pages, message boards, etc.

Watchdog Blogs

Watchdog bloggers are independent researchers or laypersons who spend a great deal of time doing pharmaceutical research. Reading these contributors’ commentary is almost like being able to sit in on a “think tank,” and there is a lot that can be gleaned from these passionate crusaders.

  • Pharmalot

    This blog is maintained by a professional who specializes in pharmaceutical news. This blog has a reputation for breaking news on topics well before other news outlets.

  • PharmaGossip

    This blog provides a compilation of pharmaceutical-related news from other blogs.

  • Eye on the FDA
    This website is maintained by an attorney who consults with pharmaceutical companies that are introducing new drugs to the FDA.
  • Fierce Pharma
    This blog provides news stories on the latest breaking pharmaceutical events.
  • World Pharma News
    This site reports on events related to pharmaceutical companies, taking a worldwide perspective rather than a U.S. perspective.
  • 1boringoldman
    This blog is maintained by a retired psychiatrist who now reports on the seedy underbelly of pharmaceutical companies and their drugs in his spare time.
  • Mass Device
    This website monitors changes in the medical device industry.

Message Boards

There are public forums and message boards where people report symptoms, reactions, and suspected drug interactions. These types of sources can sometimes be the canary in the mine, heralding the beginning of a problem before it reaches mainstream media levels. Examples include:

  • Reddit and similar news sharing sites – We monitor for alerts regarding pharmaceutical companies and side effects.
  • drugs-forum.com – This and similar sites are used by patients to discuss, in-depth, the side effects of medications they are taking.
  • Cafe Pharma – This is an anonymous message board maintained by pharmaceutical sales representatives.

Medical Journals

Every quarter, medical journals are publishing volumes of fresh reports on everything from clinical trials to severe defects and recalls, including:

  • BMJ
  • NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine)
  • Medscape Medline Journal Search – This is one of the most efficient ways to search for medical journals. After we have located a topic which merits further research, we’ll perform a search on Medscape.com for a list of journal articles that have been published about the drug or device in question.
  • PubMed – This is another source for journal research. Particularly useful to researchers on a budget because it indicates, at a glance, which ones can be accessed for free.
  • ClinicalTrials.gov – This website publishes the raw data on clinical trials that is most commonly used in medical journal papers.

News Monitoring

  • Google News Subscriptions – Every day we visit the Google News website, which will contain a number of sections we subscribe to, including sections on the FDA, world pharmaceutical news, etc.
  • Google Alerts – We maintain a series of Google alerts on relevant pharmaceutical topics, so that we will be notified immediately whenever a news report is published on the subject.
  • Health sections from different news agencies – By subscribing to health sections from agencies such as BBC and Reuters, we stay updated on news regarding drugs and medical devices that might not be found otherwise.

Individual/Organizational Sources

There are a number of charitable organizations, universities, and government entities who place their data and suspicions online for anyone to investigate.

  • ProPublica – In-depth journalism coverage about items of public interest, including the pharmaceutical industry. This website also runs Dollars for Docs, which lists the sources of funding that doctors have received.
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
  • International Society of Pharmacovigilance

Drug Databases

A number of drug databases can be researched and mined for reported adverse events, a history of a drug’s label changes, and other specialized information.

  • DrugCite.com
  • AdverseEvents.com
  • Drugs @ FDA
  • Drugs.com
  • PharmaGKB
  • Medline Plus
  • US National Library of Medicine – http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov

Pre-Approval Research

We have a process in place for locating problems before drugs are even approved. Periodically, FDA advisory committees issue concerns regarding drugs they are considering for approval. We maintain a list of drugs in our database that FDA committees have expressed caution about. Then, when the drugs are approved, we create Google alerts to see if any of the adverse events have occurred post-approval.