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Special Interest Groups - Risk Communication Group

The ISoP Special Interest Group on Medicinal Product Risk Communication (ISoP CommSIG)

ISoP, the International Society of Pharmacovigilance, has set up their Special Interest Group on Medicinal Product Risk Communication (ISoP CommSIG), which kicked of its activities in 2014. The group was set up because the objectives of pharmacovigilance, and the wider vision of patient safety, cannot be achieved without communication with patients, healthcare providers other, influential parties at expert quality level. As a starting point, a paper was consolidated and published in the Society’s official journal – Drug Safety – which defined the CommSIG’s main objectives and ways for further development:

  • The mandate is to establish risk communication as a sub-discipline of safety surveillance and risk management of medicines, provide for multi-disciplinary exchange, learning and practice development and promote related research.
  • This builds on a long-standing interest of ISoP members in the topic, with sessions at the annual meetings of ISoP since 2006, training events and articles published in the scientific literature.
  • Reaching out to others, such as patient groups, healthcare providers, drug information providers, the media, as well as connecting with experts from the communications, social and healthcare sciences will be essential.
  • The overall goal aim is to support improving risk communication practices in the various pharmacovigilance settings world-wide with a view to facilitating informed therapeutic choice, safe use of medicines and credibility of the regulatory system.

The CommSIG connects with experts from the social and communications sciences or active in patient safety and human factors research and practice as well as with representatives from patients, healthcare provider and media organizations. The CommSIG is also dedicated to create synergies with other ISoP special interest groups and chapters as well as other international organizations and learned societies.

1 See Priya Bahri, Alexander N. Dodoo, Brian D. Edwards, I. Ralph Edwards, Irene Fermont, Ulrich Hagemann, Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Bruce Hugman, Peter G Mol, on behalf of the ISoP CommSIG. The ISoP CommSIG for Improving Medicinal Product Risk Communication: A New Special Interest Group of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance. Drug Saf (2015) 38:621-627 (

1. History of the Group

The CommSIG was officially formed in 2014 and expanded during the 14th Annual Meeting of ISoP in Tianjin. It however has deep roots in the past, as communication of risks and its relevance for pharmacovigilance as a whole has been discussed since the start of the ISoP and has always been part of ISoP’s vision.

2. Advancements, ongoing projects and future steps

The CommSIG held its members’ round table discussions during the annual meetings in Tianjin and Prague and has regular email-based discussions. A number of work streams, led by various CommSIG members, have been set up to ensure achieving the defined deliverables in each year. These cover organizing interactive sessions at the ISoP annual meetings and ISoP training activities, e.g. based on chapter 14 of the WHO-ISoP Pharmacovigilance Curriculum2, as well disseminating key messages from the CommSIG to other forums.

2 See Jürgen Beckmann, Ulrich Hagemann, Priya Bahri, Andrew Bate, Ian W. Boyd, Gerald J. Dal Pan, Brian D. Edwards, I. Ralph Edwards, Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Marie Lindquist, John McEwen, Yola Moride, Sten Olsson, Shanthi N. Pal, Rachida Soulaymani-Bencheikh, Marco Tuccori, Claudia P. Vaca, Ian C.K. Wong. Teaching Pharmacovigilance: the WHO-ISoP Core Elements of a Comprehensive Modular Curriculum. Drug Saf (2014) 37:743-759 (

In 2015, a session was organized successfully for the ISoP Annual Meeting in Prague with invited experts from the communication psychology and healthcare sciences. The session’s title was “Patient safety through dialogue – how to better connect pharmacovigilance and healthcare?” and a report for publication is under preparation.

In October 2016, a session was organized at the ISoP Annual Meeting in Agra with contributors from Asia and other world regions, sharing important projects in hospitals and the public domain under the title of: Risk communication – “Snakes and Ladders” and a Strategic Approach to Risk Minimisation in Healthcare”. A publication is under preparation.

3. Current members

A list of all current members is presented below:

Priya Bahri, SIG Coordinator 
Paula Alvarado 
Geoffrey Bowring
Sudhir Bansod
Angela Caro Rojas
Rebecca Chandler
Jean-Christophe Delumeau 
Gauri Deoras
Alex Dodoo * 
Brian Edwards * 
Ralph Edwards *
Rina (Irene) Fermont *  
Kenneth Hartigan-Go *
Ulrich Hagemann * 
Bruce Hugman *
Agnes Kant 
Tauqeer Karim
Pedro Lima
Tamas Megyaszai
Kaori Nomura 
Lisa Phillips
Carmit Strauss 
Banu Unal 
*Founding members


4. Contact and membership in CommSIG

This is a call to interested ISoP members to join the CommSIG as well as to experts from other disciplines to connect with the CommSIG for collaboration. The CommSIG hopes to invite such experts to ISoP’s annual meetings and for the review of possible recommendations to tackle challenges in medicinal product risk communication.

If you have interest to join the ISoP CommSIG or discuss possible collaboration, please contact the CommSIG via:
International Society of Pharmacovigilance
ISoP Secretariat Ltd
London SW12 0HS, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 3256 0027
Fax: +44 (0)20 3256 0027