Life Sciences

Avoiding Nuisances of Special Characters in Argus Safety

Healthcare Data

Special characters are useful and sometimes necessary for accurate interpretation of the content specifically for medical terms in PV cases. However, not all special characters are welcome in Argus Safety. If used, they have their own nuisances. Below are a few examples of irritating outcomes when special characters are introduced and the best practices to avoid the impact.

Most common problems with the use of special characters:

  • Unable to open a case with special characters in fields like Narratives, Reporter Comments, and Attachment Notes
  • Unable to attach the files with special characters like a registered symbol ‘®’ in the file names
  • Negative Ack on E2B Submissions when the special characters excess the field character limit
  • PDF outputs of CIOMS and MedWatch are rendered with garbled characters
  • Misaligned text on case listings
  • Advanced Condition (AC) Library page lands on an error page if the name or description of the AC contains special character like square brackets ‘[‘and’]’
  • Periodic report menu access issues and can’t email the reports with special characters like backslash ‘\’ present in Report Name/Description/Justification

Mostly the problems with special characters occur when text is copied from other sources like Microsoft Word and pasted in Argus Safety fields. These problems are caused because the characters that are supported in other media such as Word are rendered differently in Argus Safety. The recommendation is to paste the required text from Word to Notepad or another basic text editor, which will change it to the correct characters and then paste from Notepad into Argus Safety. Or simply use Notepad to create your narrative or write it in Argus. In addition, avoid using the special characters in the Report Names, Advanced Conditions Names, Descriptions, Justifications, etc.

A few examples of special characters that have posed issues in various application areas include QUOTATIONS “, APOSTROPHES ‘, DASHES -, SQUARE BRACKETS [ ], BACKWARD or FORWARD SLASHES / \, REGISTERED Symbol®.

Some of the above-mentioned issues reported in earlier versions have been taken care of in 8.x versions of Argus Safety; however, some new ones are still being discovered. Currently, Oracle does not have a formal list of invalid characters or supported characters for Argus. Many of the special character and display issues go away in Argus Safety 8.2 with the Unicode changes in that release.

As a general practice, based on our experience with various client data, we recommend avoiding using the special character/symbols as much as possible. If you do render an error that is similar to the above, first check to see if special characters are involved. The most common place where special characters are an irritant is in the narrative field. We understand that each company has a preferred narrative format; if it’s easiest to write the narrative outside of Argus and copy/paste, use Notepad rather than Word. This will minimize the failures caused by the introduction of special characters.

About the Author

Lead Business Consultant PV/Safety. Mandeep is a certified Oracle Argus Safety Implementation Specialist with Argus Safety product suite development background and has successfully led multiple Argus Safety projects for implementations, upgrades, integrations, migrations and business process optimizations as a subject matter expert (SME), senior business analyst (BA) and configuration lead for many pharmaceutical companies.

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