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The Drug Information Helpline

At TheNetwork's Drug Information Helpline we aim to help the prescribers and consumers to prescribe and use medicines rationally by providing objective and independent drug information tailored according to their specific needs.

Existing sources of drug information

Drugs without essential information are potentially harmful chemicals. Typically the sources of drug information for prescribers are pharmacology textbooks, local commercial drug compendiums or guides, foreign drug formularies (e.g. BNF) or pharmaceutical companies' drug promotional materials. Generally busy prescribers find it difficult to reopen their text books which also soon become outdated and not every body has access to drug formularies. Pharmaceutical companies invest heavily in drug promotion and are known to use even unethical ways to increase the sale of their products. The information provided by the companies in majority of the cases is hence not reliable. In Pakistan it has also been established that companies are not serious to provide more information to prescribers even when such information is requested.
Another important and up to date source of therapeutic information are research articles published in credible medical journals. According to one estimate more than 600,000 articles are published in biomedical literature every year. It is an uphill task to read 1644 articles everyday to make informed therapeutic decisions. Even then it is quite possible that the specific information you need about medicines might not be there.


Independent drug information

Realizing the above mentioned problems with the existing sources of drug information, the importance of independent drug information in rational prescription and use of medicines and the near absence of any independent source of drug information in the country (especially for general prescribers and consumers) TheNetwork has decided to fill the gap. With the help of World Health Organization, we have established a drug information helpline.
The basic idea of this helpline is to provide independent and objective drug information to assisst prescribers in their prescribing and to consumers in their drug use. We have trained drug information pharmacist and state of the art electronic drug databases. Along with that we have organizational links with the important drug information centers all over the world. Our aim is to provide requested drug information as promptly and correctly as possible. 

Who can use the DIHL?

Health professionals and consumers who need information regarding drug use. 

We offer help with...

Drug dosing information

Indications and contraindications

Possible side-effects and reported adverse effects

Effective, safe and cheap generic alternatives to expensive brand names

Drugs usage in pregnancy, lactation and infant risks that might be involved

Compatibility of products with each other

Stability of the product

Drug interactions such as with food, drugs, laboratory tests as well as diseases. 

We are linked with some of the important international discussion groups via e-mail such as E-drug and INDICES where discussions regarding various issues related to essential drugs and drug information are on going. 

We can save you the trouble of browsing the net for drug information in specific journals and databases. Our Resource Center is well equipped with most of the important journals and bulletins via the Internet as well as in-house resources:

     MICROMEDEX

     American Hospital Formulary Service

     Physician’s Desk Reference

     USP Drug Information

     WHO Drug Information

     British National Formulary

     Toxline

     Ellenhorne’s Medical Toxicology

     Worst Pills Best Pills

     British Medical Journal

     The Australian Prescriber

     Prescrire International

     Drug and Therapeutic Bulletin

The Helpline is a service that provides assistance on drug use only. It does not offer any help on medical and health related issues

Using our services

You can contact us Monday-Friday from 9.00 a.m. -5.00 p.m. 

Phone: +92-51-2260133 

Fax:      +92-51-2262495 

Mail:

40-A, Ramzan Plaza, G-9 Markaz, Karachi Compani, P.O. Box 2563, Islamabad -Pakistan 

E-mail: helpline@thenetwork.org.pk

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