‘Consumers will benefit from increased transparency and earlier access to new information on adverse drug reactions thanks to a new website launched by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)’ said Carol Bennett, CEO of the peak national health consumer body, the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF).
Ms Bennett welcomed the TGA’s announcement of a publicly searchable database of adverse events, the Database of Adverse Event Notifications (http://www.tga.gov.au/daen/daen-entry.aspx).
The site will enable consumers to search for numbers and types of adverse event reports received by the TGA for particular drugs. The reports are received from GPs, other health professionals, members of the public and the medicines industry.
‘This website demonstrates that the Government and the TGA is serious about putting into place the recommendations of the recent transparency review of its activities. This will not only provide consumers with more accessible information but will ultimately improve safety through better and improved reporting which will highlight emerging trends earlier,’ Ms Bennett said.
‘CHF believes this website will increase awareness of the importance of consumers reporting adverse impacts when things do go wrong with their medicines, and will increase transparency through direct access and scrutiny of this data by consumers.’
‘CHF commends Parliamentary Secretary for Health Katherine King’s decision to improve information for consumers.’ Ms Bennett added.
CHF is aware that one of the criticisms of providing this information to the public is the concern that consumers will cease to take their medications.
The website clearly advises consumers not to change their medication regime without consultation with their health practitioner and that reports of adverse events do not mean that the medications identified caused the event.
Ms Bennett pointed out that despite these concerns, research from Europe had shown very little change to prescription usage following the introduction of similar schemes.
‘Studies conducted in Europe have demonstrated that consumers who accessed this type of information very rarely ceased their recommended medication as a result,’ Ms Bennett said.
‘CHF will continue to work with the TGA, industry and health professionals to ensure consumers
View the Website, http://www.tga.gov.au/daen/daen-entry.aspx