Each year, The Max Foundation channels millions of doses of cancer medicines to thousands of patients around the globe, some of whom have accessed treatment through our programs for more than a decade. With such a large, enduring, and diverse patient population, it’s important that we play our part in contributing to the body of knowledge regarding drug side effects.

Knowing whether a particular drug will cause a severe reaction in someone with heart disease, for instance, is critical information when making treatment decisions. And cancer treatment often involves a series of difficult decisions. No one can guarantee that your specific cancer will respond to a specific therapy. Nor can anyone guarantee that the list of scary side effects won’t become your new normal.

That’s why reporting these side effects is so important. And that’s why we’ve developed systems to ensure adverse event reports are shared promptly with local health authorities through prescribers, and with drug manufacturers alike.

In addition to benefitting the medical and patient communities at large, our reports also fill an important gap in countries where national systems for collecting them are less developed. We can support prescribers in these countries by guaranteeing reports make their way into global repositories of information regarding the safety of cancer drugs.

You can learn more about the systems we’ve pioneered, from committing staff resources to building a web-based reporting form, in our publication in the journal Globalization and Health, “A pharmacovigilance system for treatment access and medical donation programs: The Max Foundation experience”.

All of us who work in the field of medical donations have the potential to contribute directly to patient safety. If you’re interested in learning more about our efforts, or learning how your organization can do more with reporting, I hope you’ll connect with us.