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Notice given 29 September 2006

2521  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) Is the Minister aware of the research finding by the University of Sydney, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on 3 April 2006, that 10.4 per cent of general practitioner encounters were with patients who, when asked, reported an adverse drug event in the previous 6 months, reports that this has been confirmed by other studies and that is widely recognised as a gross under-estimation of the problem.

(2) Can the Minister confirm the finding that there appeared to be ‘gross under-reporting’ of adverse events and that the Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee (ADRAC) of the Therapeutic Goods Administration actively discouraged reporting of less severe adverse drug events, as well as known side effects, to avoid overloading the system.

(3) Can the Minister confirm that the number of reports submitted by general practitioners to the ADRAC fell from 3314 in 2002 to 2075 in 2004.

(4) Was active discouragement by the ADRAC the cause of this fall; if not, what was the cause.

(5) What is the scope of patient morbidity for adverse drug events classified as ‘unimportant’.

(6) What is the estimated annual cost to the health system of preventable adverse drug events severe enough to warrant hospitalisation.

(7) Will the Government insist that general practitioners in future report all moderate and severe drug reactions, including those that are a result of a known side effect.