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Protecting patients against medicine shortages
Lois Lee | 승인 2018.09.13 14:39

New law has been passed by the Parliament to protect patients against shortages of critical and life-saving medicine. 

Under the new law, medicine companies will be required to report shortages of important medicine as soon as they occur. 

Moreover, if a critical medicine is to be discontinued and be removed from the market, the manufacturer must notify the Department of Health at least 12 months in advance. 

This will be applied to all prescription medications as well as other medicines vital for public health, such as EpiPens and inhalers. 

Earlier this year, Australia patients experienced a shortage of EpiPens, which is vital to people with acute allergic responses as it provides lifesaving adrenalin. 

This has been one of the many examples of where medicine companies, manufacturers or importers have failed to comply with the current voluntary reporting system. 

This is concerning to many patients and doctors as it leaves less time to make alternative arrangements. 

“Tough penalties will apply to companies that do not comply with these new laws, including fines of up to $210,000 for each infringement and the possibility of further court action,” Minister for Health the Hon. Greg Hunt said. “I make no apologies for taking a hardline approach to ensuring patients aren’t kept in the dark about a potential medicine shortage.” 

The new law describes ‘medicine shortage’ as instances where there are not enough, or likely will not be enough for all patients in Australia in the next six months. 

Possible reponses to shortages include re-directing the available supplies to critical patients, nominating alternative treatments, and providing the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme information to cover for the alternatives. 

Lois Lee  info@hanhodaily.com

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