First hurdle over for medicine reporting

Mandatory reporting of medicine shortages to the drug watchdog are one step closer after legislation passed the lower house.

The new mandatory scheme would require critical drug shortages to be reported within two days and non-critical shortages within 10 days.

While Labor supported the bill, former pediatrician Mike Freelander said the system should go further.

“My fear is unless we have better supply chain practices, some manufacturing in Australia and reserve supplies of these medication, we will be in serious trouble,” the MP said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt says some situations, like an EpiPen shortage in April, could put patient lives at risk.

He said the current voluntary scheme had proven to be ineffective.

Decisions to discontinue products would also need to be reported up to a year ahead of time.

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