Evaluation of pharmacological evidence for forensic purposes.
A thorough analysis of a case that involves a medication that may have caused or contributed to an adverse outcome, or a comparison of two compounds in a patent dispute, requires consideration of many processes that affect the clinical effects of a medication. These include its chemical structure, its pharmacological actions (pharmacodynamics), the pharmaceutical formulation, and its absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (pharmacokinetics). They also include analysis of clinical details, including the diagnosis, the quality of the prescribing decisions, the accuracy of the prescription, dispensing, and administration of medications, and how appropriately the case was managed, including monitoring. A causality assessment should be attempted for both the general case and the particular case. Knowledge of the systems that describe a medication's mechanisms of action (EIDOS) and the dose-relationships and time-courses of adverse outcomes and individual susceptibilities to them (DoTS) can inform several aspects of the analysis. Reports should be written in clear English and should not contain statements that rely on expertise that the expert does not possess.