Pharmacists take a lead in medicine safety

Pharmacists are taking measures to ensure the safety of medicines by reporting the side effects of drugs and vaccines.

The pharmacy group Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced in its recent Annual Performance Statistics Report that there were over 24,000 reports of adverse reactions in patients.

“Of those reports made by health professionals, nearly half were lodged by pharmacists, including hospital pharmacists,” Pharmaceutical Society of Australia national president associate professor 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.

“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 with therapeutic claims are listed and assessed by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). There were 88,788 therapeutic goods on the list in June.

“The number of new listed medicines entered into the ARTG this year was 1,893. 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,” associate professor Freeman said.

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