is the holding company for iGuard.ORG
which prospectively monitors the safety of prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and healthcare supplements in over 225,000 patients. The company also rates the safety of different drugs using a standardized ratings scale, and has received critical support from patient advocacy groups concerned by the large number of patients affected by serious, preventable adverse drug reactions
iGuard was founded in 2007 by Hugo Stephenson, MD. It is a subsidiary of Quintiles Transnational, a multinational contract research organization.
iGuard uses a five color rating scale similar to that used by the United States Homeland Security Advisory System
to communicate the risk of developing serious side effects. The risk ratings are based on the drug's approved label and research available in major journals. iGuard publishes general ratings for a wide range of drugs and supplements, and produces personalized ratings that take into account a patient's health profile and interactions between their drugs. iGuard Risk Ratings
- High Risk (Red): Requires careful consideration of risk versus benefit with your doctor.
e.g. Adriamycin, Vincristine
- Elevated (Orange): Create a personal risk reduction plan with your doctor
e.g. Prednisone, Warfarin, Insulin
- Guarded (Yellow): Reserved for new products, be on the lookout for safety events
e.g. Januvia, Yaz
- General (Blue): Use under the normal care of your doctor
e.g. Lipitor, Lopressor
- Low (Green): Suitable for widespread use
e.g. Vitamin C, Caltrate
Qualitative risk rating systems such as that used by iGuard have been criticized for potentially simplifying risk assessment requirements used to inform risk management decisions.
Additionally, the colors are misordered. Using the colors of the rainbow as a guide, the order should be: red, orange, yellow, green, then blue. Because Americans have traditionally used "green" to mean "safe to proceed" (e.g. in traffic signaling) green was designated the lowest level. In the alternative, green-yellow could have been used instead of blue.