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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

How to report an adverse reaction or problem with a medicine or medical procedure

Updated: Dec 30, 2022


Less than 10% of all adverse medical events get reported. Some cynics think it is nearer 1% than 10%. I tend to be in the 1% camp. In my job, I see cases of medication side effects or surgical procedures that have been less than perfect. Most are subtle, some horrific. Seldom are these reported.

To understand better the safety and efficacy of a medication or procedure, it is essential that all events are reported, no matter how mild or loosely associated they may be. There is often a delay, sometimes months and even years, between the commencement of the medication or the procedure and the onset of symptoms, meaning proof of the association may be weak but bear in mind the idea of the perfect storm. Do not let this stop you from reporting what may be suspected. The more people who file reports, the better researchers at the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) can build safety profiles for the benefit of all.

Anyone living in New Zealand who feels they have experienced an adverse reaction due to medicine can report this to CARM. You do not need to be a healthcare professional to report an adverse event, although it is best your doctor also files a report.

Whether you are a medical practitioner or a patient, you can now quickly and easily file an online report:

The patient may also be eligible for ACC cover:

Important: If you are experiencing an adverse event from a drug or medical procedure, please immediately seek medical assistance.

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