This best practice paper outlines the evolution of pharmacovigilance in Europe, particularly in the context of the fifth anniversary of the 2012 EU pharmacovigilance legislation and recent developments in the field. Additionally, this paper describes the varied role of community pharmacists in ensuring the safe, effective and rational use of medicines in practice. Furthermore, this paper highlights PGEU’s work on pharmacovigilance and risk minimisation measures and provides an overview of best practices from PGEU member organisations.

As the experts in medicines, the most accessible group of healthcare professionals in Europe and often the last professional a patient sees before taking a medication, community pharmacists are profoundly implicated in aspects related to pharmacovigilance, medication use and patient safety.

The broad and diverse areas explored in this paper include prevention and reporting of adverse drug reactions, implementation and adherence to risk minimisation measures in practice, minimisation of medication errors and prevention of drug interactions. Additionally, the paper outlines the use of Good Pharmacy Practices and protocols, the safe use of medicines during pregnancy and breastfeeding and safe use in high risk or particularly vulnerable patient groups. The paper also highlights how community pharmacists improve adherence and promote the most effective use of medications and the use of innovative technologies to enhance patient safety and high quality of care.