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Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Page: 6251

Mrs Hull asked the Minister for Health and Ageing, in writing, on 13 May 2008:

In respect of Coroners’ reports: is the Government able to advise how many deaths have been linked to the taking of the drugs Zyprexa, Aropax or Risperidone?

Ms Roxon (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

No. The Commonwealth Government does not have routine access to information relating to coronial inquiries of state and territory Coroners’ offices. This information may be obtained from individual state and territory Coroners’ offices.

Since January 2005, the Therapeutic Goods Administration received 32 reports of deaths associated with these medicines, through the Adverse Drug Reactions reporting scheme. However, these data should be interpreted with extreme caution. Reporting is voluntary and the fact that “death” is recorded as an outcome in the Adverse Drug Reactions database does not indicate a causal link between the medicine and the fatal outcome. Causality assessment is a complex process involving careful consideration of all available evidence on a case-by-case basis.