Call for TGA transparency
CALLS for greater transparency within the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have been renewed by a leading academic, who has labelled the organisation as being among the “most secret” regulation agencies in the world.
According to Dr Agnes Vitry (PhD), senior research fellow at the University of South Australia’s Division of Health Sciences, recent studies demonstrated that UK, European and even US authorities were more transparent, despite contending with more powerful pharmaceutical industries.
In particular, Dr Vitry held up the US Food and Drug Administration as a model of best practice, noting meeting minutes and information on new drugs were publicly available on its website.
In Australia, neither prescribers nor consumers are able to access information on how the TGA’s Australian Drug Evaluation Committee makes its decision on new medications.
“There’s still an issue where product information for consumers or prescribers isn’t adequate – and there’s no government source for that information,” Dr Vitry said.
Dr Vitry said as Australia’s TGA was fully funded through fees from pharmaceutical companies, “decisions will be increasingly subject to public scrutiny because of the worry about conflicts of interest”.
She told MO the TGA needed to “show evidence that they’re still keeping public health as their main objective”.
The federal health department did not reply to MO’s request for a comment.