The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has launched a new service to provide doctors, pharmacists and consumers with essential, up-to-date information about shortages of prescription medicines.
Developed through a partnership between Medicines Australia, the Generic Medicines Industry Association and TGA, the project includes a new website that will provide health professionals and consumers with information on current, anticipated and resolved medicine shortages.
Other key components of the Medicine Shortages Information Initiative are a subscription alert service and a Protocol for communication and management of shortages agreed with the prescription medicines industry.
New TGA service for health professionals
Congratulating all organisations involved in developing the new service, Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash said information on medicine shortages would “greatly assist health professionals to provide continuity of care”.
“This initiative is another excellent example of how industry and Government can and do work together for the benefit of health consumers,” Senator Nash said.
“Medicines Shortages, whether they affect thousands, hundreds or a small number of consumers, can be very difficult for the individuals involved,” she said.
“Changing medication, as a result of a medicines shortage, can have significant implications even if there is an alternative.”
The website features different ways of finding information and, where possible, links direct health professionals to information about substitute medicines or therapeutic alternatives.
“Medicine shortages can arise for a number of reasons, ranging from a lack of raw materials to a change in clinical practice leading to great demand for that medicine,” Senator Nash said.
“In the past, medicine shortages have arisen in medicines for cancer, anaesthetics used in surgery, medicines used in emergencies and electrolytes provided to patients on intravenous drip,” she said.
“This Initiative will help healthcare professionals and consumers to safely and effectively manage medicines shortages.”