The effectiveness of dear healthcare professional letters as a risk minimization tool in Ghana
African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Dear Healthcare Professional (DHP) letter is a risk minimization tool used to inform health workers about new and emerging safety information during the marketing period of medicinal products. DHP letters in some cases may not be effective because targeted audience may not be aware of these letters or even understand them. The objectives of this study were to assess the effectiveness and relevance of DHP letters as effective risk minimization tool and to seek opinion of health workers about the
... h workers about the most effective way of communicating safety information. A descriptive correlational study of 913 health workers selected by convenient sampling through face-to-face interviews from Apr. to June, 2014 was conducted, with a response rate of 83.15%. The data was analyzed using descriptive analysis and Pearson-chi square test (χ 2 ) with STATA version 13. A p-value of < 0.05 was considered significant during the analysis. Of the 913 respondents only 350 (38.34%) were aware of at least one of the letters distributed in 2013 and 314 (89.71%) out of these admitted that these letters have influenced their way of prescribing, dispensing and administering the medicines involved. One hundred and ninety-two (54.82%) of the respondents rated the level of understanding of the language used as good and there was no significant difference in the health workers rating of the language used in the letters (p=0.40). Health workers suggested electronic methods such as short messaging service to their mobile phones 56.81% (438), e-mail 91 (85.85%) and posting the letters on the Food and Drugs Authority's website 26.85% (207). The results suggest that DHP letters issued by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) are effective in changing behavior of those who receive them but they are received late or not at all. The FDA should therefore explore other means of communicating safety information such as electronic means as suggested by the health workers.