Reporting side effects

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 51, No. 4, May 2009, Page 160 News

In March the Government of Canada launched a campaign encouraging Canadians to use MedEffect Canada to report suspected side effects from health products. MedEffect Canada allows physicians and patients to file reports on adverse reactions via web, phone, fax, or mail. The web site also provides the most recent and reliable health product safety information. Increased reporting of side effects contributes significantly to the safe use of health products. It’s estimated that less than 10% of suspected side effects are reported.

Health Canada is distributing a brochure, entitled A Patient Guide for Reporting Side Effects from Health Products (, which will be displayed at pharmacies across the country. A health professional guide to reporting side effects is available at Physicians and patients can report adverse reactions to the Canada Vigilance Program the following three ways:

• Online at the MedEffect Canada web site (
• By completing the Canada Vigilance Reporting Form available on the web site ( and mailing it postage paid ( or faxing it toll free to 1 866 678-6789.
• By calling toll free to 1 866 234-2345.

. Reporting side effects. BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 4, May, 2009, Page(s) 160 - News.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

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