Our Letter to Minister Hunt Regarding Petition ENO607

Petition ENO607 called on the Government to

"TGA should mandate all pharmaceutical companies to put clear warnings on the outside of the boxes of all dangerous medications. TGA should access denominator data, improve the quality of information reported via spontaneous reporting systems. The necessary and sufficient information required from the reporter, to assess a causal link between medicine and effect, should be requested in the user instructions on the TGA Blue cards. Blue cards should be given (with directions to equivalent online reporting) to every consumer at the point of drug sale and regularly to every patient in Australia."

Minister Hunt's response failed to identify ways to improve consumer reports and rather disturbingly stated that Australian legislation does not currently require medicines to have warnings on them. 

Given the cost to Australian taxpayers of medicine errors and the fact that pharmaceutical companies have the skills and knowledge to do so, and give warnings in other countries, we found this statement egregious. 

We, therefore, wrote to Minister Hunt requesting a meeting between him and consumers harmed by poor prescribing practices together with a detailed response to our concerns. 

Our full letter follows:


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Our Submission About Medicine Warnings

Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey about medicine warnings.

Here are the results:

  • 90% have been harmed by medicines due to lack of warnings.

  • 87% were not told that their medication could cause serious harm prior to taking it.

  • 11% were warned by their doctor and 3% by their pharmacist.

  • 67% were not given any product information.

  • 25% were given the leaflet in the box. 18% were given a print-out from the computer.

  • 88% thought warnings should be placed on both the box and the leaflet in the box.

  • 84% would be confused if warnings were only put on new medicines.

  • 96% want pharmacogenomic information included on the boxed warnings.

  • 73% did not know how to make a report to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

  • 93% would be more likely to report an adverse event if the form was provided with the medicine.
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Why We Are Campaigning on Pharmacogenomics

There are many aspects to safe medicines.

Our current campaign focuses on petitioning the Australian Senate to do more to reduce unsafe medicines by introducing pharmacogenomics. 

Unsafe medicines are a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.

Current Australian prescribing guidelines are outdated as they do not consider the individual's response to medicines before prescribing them. 

Pharmacogenomics is the branch of medicine that predicts an individual's response to medicines. 

The introduction of pharmacogenomics in Australia lags behind the science and world’s best practice.

Our petition calls on the Australian Government to adopt world's best practice. 

We want to see a “no prescribing without pharmacogenomic testing” policy here in Australia. 

That’s why we think the Australian Government should be doing more and why we are asking you to stand with us by signing our petition.

Will you stand with us for safe medicines?

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