About Keep Me Informed | Medicines
Welcome to Keep Me Informed | Medicines
The best outcome is if it helps us all make more informed decisions.
Keep Me Informed | Medicines has been developed to resolve some of the issues that we, as patients, experience in the decision making process about our healthcare, especially the medicines that are available to us.
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- regulatory authorities - these bodies (such as MHRA, EMA and FDA) control whether or not a medicine can be used in the UK, EU or USA
- health technology assessment organisations - these bodies (such as NICE, the Scottish Medicines Consortium and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group) determine whether particular medicines are 'value for money'; that is that the cost is justified based on the condition the medicine treats and the effectiveness and safety compared to other products on the market
- healthcare providers - these bodies (such as NHS England) who actually deliver health care, including prescribing of medicines, to patients
- professional bodies - these include organisations that support patients, doctors, pharmacists, nurses and allied medical professions
- authoritative peer reviewed medical journals - these publications often report on new research and medical opinion
- medical specialists - we do contact experts in the relevant medical specialisms to help communicate about specific issues
We do not accept medicine advertising or promotional information. Advertising of prescription medicines to the public is prohibited in the EU. lt is permissible to provide information that is consistent with a medicine's marketing authorisation.
We aim to provide information in plain language and provide links to a wide range of authoritative websites such as NHS Choices.
This site is designed to offer information for general educational purposes only.
The health information provided on Keep Me Informed is not intended to be professional advice and is not intended to replace personal consultation with a qualified physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. You must always seek the advice of a professional for questions related to a disease, disease symptoms, and appropriate therapeutic treatments.
What we provide
The information in Keep Me Informed is sourced from a number of recognised authorities. Medical terms can often be a problem. Variations in spellings, synonyms and the use of 'syndromes' can leave us all bemused. In Keep Me Informed we have tried to use the most helpful terms (breast cancer instead of malignant neoplasm of the breast) and spellings. As a convention we have decided to use English spellings (leukaemia instead of leukemia, oedema instead of edema). With synonyms (e.g. lymphoid and lymphoblastic) we will often use the shorter or simpler term.
Access to new medicines information
How Medicines get approved - European Medicines Agency video
All new medicines must be thoroughly researched, tested and their benefits and risks communicated to the healthcare profession. Most new medicines start life in the laboratory where researchers screen many molecules based on their understanding of body chemistry.
Promising molecules will be put forward for further refinement and subjected to a series of clinical trials. For further information download the excellent Sense About Science booklet "Making Sense Of Drug Safety Science".Newer techniques of medicine discovery are continuously being developed especially with the knowledge we now have of the role of our genes in causing disease.
Medicines can only be used once approved by medicine regulators, the European Medicines Agency in Europe (EMA), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA.
Some medicines cannot be used by the NHS until they have been shown to provide good value for money. In England, this is the role of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), in Scotland the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) and in Wales the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG).
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency - the UK regulatory body
- European Medicines Agency – who grant permission for new medicines to be used in Europe
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – the body who determine the ‘value for money’ for new medicines and whether the NHS can prescribe them
- Peer reviewed (checked by other researchers) medical journals such as the BMJ, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine
- Manufacturers - technical information about medicines
Stephen’s background is in the life science industry and medical information. A graduate in Human Biology and Anatomy, Stephen was responsible for developing the electronic Medicines Compendium and for producing medicines information content for NHS Choices.
He was also responsible for implementing several large IT projects with the Prescription Pricing Authority (dictionary of medicines and devices – dm+d) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (improved access to medicine information – X-PILs). Stephen has also worked with UK Clinical Research Collaboration on the use of electronic health records to improve clinical research focusing on ways of using electronic health records to identify adverse medicine events. He has also worked as European MD for the US data analytics company, DrugLogic Inc.
Roger trained at Charing Cross Hospital. After a spell abroad – two years in Laos – and 2 years teaching Anatomy at King's College, London, he settled in General Practice in Surbiton in 1971. In 1981 he computerised his practice and in 1986 joined forces with James Read to write and produce version 2 of the Read codes, the universally used codes that populate electronic medical records.
This collaboration led to a short period working for the NHS Centre for Coding and Classification (later NHS Information Authority, National Programme for IT, Connecting for Health). In 1992 he returned to General Practice in East Sheen, London, and set up SafeScript to produce the World Standard Drug Database, using unique Thesaurus Technology.
Roger was a founder member and chairman of the Doctors' Independent Network (DIN) in 1991. His interests in General Practice are the Electronic Health Record, Deprivation, Mental Health and Addiction and in IT coding, interoperability of systems and development of the Thesaurus of Medical Terms. Roger is now retired as a GP.
Sponsors are welcome and are invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org . Our editorial policy ensures independence.
Future services to the public may be offered as subscription services. These include our medicines management programme and a care pathway programme. More information about these services will be published in 2019.
We are making every effort to avoid distracting, annoying and intrusive advertising, from any source.
- AWMSG - All Wales Medicines Strategy Group - determine whether some medicines can be prescribed by NHS Wales
- BMA - British Medical Association - the group that represents doctors interests
- EMA - European Medicines Agency - located, for the time being, in London the EMA determines whether the evidence for a new medicine or a change in the use of medicine can be approved
- MHRA - Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency - is the UK's regulator who do some 25% of the work for the EMA
- NICE - National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - provides cost/value assessments for the NHS in England and provide the medical profession with guidance for many managing and treating many diseases
- Package leaflet (PL) or Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) - the patient information that must accompany every pack of medicines
- Risk Management Plans (RMP) - Link - recently introduced for many new medicines, this plan must outline the steps a manufacturer is taking to ensure safety of a medicine is continually assessed
- SMC - Scottish Medicines Consortium - provides cost/value assessments for the NHS in Scotland and provide the medical profession with guidance for many managing and treating many diseases
- Summary of product characteristics (SPC) - the 'technical specification of a medicine
When taking any medication, patients should read the package insert (patient information leaflet). Many medication errors can be avoided if particular attention is paid to the instructions on how to take the medicine, the correct dose, the frequency of use and watching for warning signs and symptoms of side-effects.
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