Pharmacists monitoring medicine safety

Pharmacists have taken a lead role in reporting medicine and vaccine side effects and helping ensure therapeutic goods available in Australia are safe and fit for their intended purpose.


The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Annual Performance Statistics Report released this week revealed that over 24,000 medicine and vaccine adverse reaction reports were made during that period.


According to the report, the most prolific reporters among health professionals were pharmacists.


“Of those reports made by health professionals, nearly half were lodged by pharmacists, including hospital pharmacists,” Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National President A/Prof Chris Freeman said.


“Medicine-related side effects are reported to the TGA for assessment and make a vital contribution to medicine safety in this country. PSAs Medicine Safety: Take Care Report indicated that 1.2 million Australians experienced an adverse reaction in the past 6 months. What this does highlight however, is that a lot more can be done to encourage adverse event reporting, and pharmacists, as expected are leading the way in this area.”


“Pharmacists are medicine experts; they also spend a lot of time with consumers talking about their medicine use and any side-effects or issues they may have experienced. It is no surprise that they are more aware of adverse reactions and most likely to report them.”


Products for which therapeutic claims are made are assessed by the TGA and entered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). At 30 June 2019, there were 88,788 therapeutic goods on the ARTG, including 31,987 new products added during the reporting period.


“The number of new listed medicines entered into the ARTG this year was 1,893,” A/Prof Freeman said. “Last year it was 1,792. When you consider the vast number of new medicines being constantly released, the importance of having medicine specialists – pharmacists – providing advice and support to consumers is clear.”


“Use of medicines is the most common intervention we make in health care, which unfortunately means problems with medicine use are also common.”


“As the custodians of medicines safety in the healthcare system, the early identification of medicine adverse effects through established reporting systems is vital and this highlights the vital role of pharmacists.”


“The TGA report shows the profession takes its responsibility very seriously and prioritises medicine safety.”


Media contact: PSA Media – 0487 922 176