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First Online Drug Alerts Go to U.S. Doctors


New Online Network Improves Patient Safety; Reduces Paper and Medical Liability

San Francisco, CA . - The newly launched Health Care Notification Network (“HCNN”) has just delivered the first online drug alerts to U.S. physicians. The alert focused on a widely manufactured and commonly used class of antibiotics and was sent immediately via the HCNN to health care providers, who are no longer forced to wait days or weeks for a traditional “Dear Doctor Letter” to arrive via U.S. mail.

“The HCNN dramatically improves the process of notifying physicians of time-sensitive and important patient safety information,” said Nancy Dickey, M.D., former president of the American Medical Association (AMA) and chair of the iHealth Alliance, the not-for-profit board that governs the HCNN service. “With the success of this first notification, the HCNN is well on its way to moving patient safety into the Internet Age.”

“We applaud the efforts of Dr. Dickey and the HCNN in improving the speed and efficiency of patient safety alerts,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Email notification offers significant advantages over traditional mail delivery, and helps ensure that we can adequately protect the health and safety of Americans.”

In just six months -- and as a result of the joint efforts of the AMA, state and specialty medical societies, health plans, consumer advocacy groups, government leaders and industry -- the HCNN already reaches physicians across the country. The HCNN is promoted by these organizations, as well as most medical liability carriers and many university medical centers, because it significantly reduces delays in notifying physicians of important medication and device safety alerts, which dramatically improves patient safety.

“As an early partner of the HCNN with a longstanding commitment to patient and product safety, Johnson & Johnson is pleased to see the successful use of this important network,” said Adrian Thomas, M.D., chief safety officer and global head Benefit Risk Management, Johnson & Johnson. “The HCNN provides timely, effective and efficient delivery of important medical safety information to the nation’s physicians, and we are encouraged that other manufacturers recognize the importance of this groundbreaking new system.”

The HCNN replaces traditional U.S. mail delivery of urgent drug warning and recall letters to physicians. Physicians not yet enrolled in the HCNN will receive the Alert in paper via U.S. mail later in the month. Free to all licensed U.S. physicians and their staff, the HCNN is used solely for FDA-mandated Patient Safety Alerts, fulfilling the recently-updated FDA guidance for the electronic delivery of these Alerts. It is not used for advertising or marketing.

Physicians and health care providers can register to receive electronic alerts at or through participating medical societies and other HCNN partners. The HCNN is also a “green” initiative because it reduces paper and mail, thereby saving trees and fuel.

For more information about the HCNN and online Patient Safety Alerts, visit


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