FDA to begin posting evaluations of vaccines online

The results of safety evaluations for recently approved drugs and vaccines are now being posted online by the Food and Drug Administration.

The postings, which began this week, follow the enacting of a new law in 2007 that requires the FDA to provide additional safety information to consumers and health professionals. The posted evaluations must be conducted 18 months after a new drug is placed on the market, the Washington Post reports.

Often, rare and serious side effects are only discovered after a drug has been administered to a larger and more varied group of patients, as opposed to the patient pool from clinical trials.

This so-called "post-market" analysis, which includes reports of problems from doctors and patients, new studies, foreign experience with the drug, data from pharmaceutical companies and prescription database information, will not be posted for every FDA approved products as many are similar to other drugs in use, the Washington Post reports.

Drugs that use novel chemical structures and new biological substances - vaccines and monoclonal antibodies - as well as old drugs approved for new target populations or new uses will have post-market analysis posted, according to the Washington Post.

The FDA is expected to post approximately 100 such reviews per year on a quarterly basis, though no reviews of drugs approved before Sept. 27, 2007, will be posted.