Medicines and medical devices

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Help improve Australian healthcare! By sharing your health experiences and ideas, you can help consumer advocates and consumer organisations work for change that improves things for you, patients, carers, families and communities. 

  • Patient Opinion's picture

    Life changing experience thanks to Care Coordination and Supplementary Services

    I would like to sincerely thank Kylie & John for all they have done for me. From the first night I used my CPAP machine - it was life changing. My experience has been extremely positive. This was a result of the quality support, time spent explaining use of machine and medical condition and the regular home visits from Kylie & John. I am a middle aged Aboriginal mother of a young man with profound disabilities. Before using the machine I had severe headaches and was completely exhausted. Now my energy is back, no more headaches and I would not even consider missing a night using my...Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Consultation: Review into the Life Saving Drugs Programme

    Last year, the government launched a review into the Life Saving Drugs Programme ( LSDP ). It’s a program that provides persons diagnosed with rare and life-threatening diseases access to medicines that are too expensive for them to afford on their own and that government couldn’t subsidise like most other medicines. You can learn more about the program here , and the specifics of the review here , but you don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of either to participate in the survey. Here’s what we’re asking from you: The review has asked for consumers’ thoughts on the principles which guide the...Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Community Pharmacy Agreement - the ANAO audit & future negotiations

    The recently released Australian National Audit Office’s report on the $15 billion 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement ( 5CPA ) has highlighted a number of issues around the negotiations and the agreement made between the Federal Health Department and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. The 5CPA is responsible for allocating funds to pharmacies for dispensing PBS listed medicines, paying incentives to pharmaceutical wholesalers to stock PBS medicines ready for delivery within 24 hours, as well as funding pharmacy training and accreditation programs. The 5CPA is now almost exclusively administered...Read more
  • Lolli's picture


    I've been off pristiq now for 4weeks it's a bit hard to tell if all the withdrawal symptoms have gone or not as I was having so many side effects from taking this drug I've been on 100mg for 2years. I've been telling my doctor for over 12mths that it really doesn't seem to be working and the side effects that I was having including hives, diahorra, restlessness, leg tremors, blurred vision, fatigue, no appatite at all, sleeping all day and the list just goes on. Finally my doctor sent me to a phyciatist and guess what I don't have depression not that anyone can...Read more
  • Zan's picture

    Animal Products in pharmaceutical medication

    As a vegan and someone who is allergic to animal products, I would like to know why pharmaceutical products do not currently clearly state whether or not the product is suitable for vegans. I am sick and tired (and so are my GP's) of having to scroll through the entire list of individual product ingredients, and many times over for each different product, only to find no product in a certain range of pharmaceutical medication suitable for vegans. On one occasion my GP (who is no longer) prescribed a product containing 'dairy' simply because he skimmed over the list in his hurry...Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Consumer input needed on new MBS items

    A number of new medical services, tests and procedures are being considered for MBS funding. These include a cardiovascular MRI , BRCA mutation test, and an MRI liver scan. The full list of services being considered is available here . Consumer input on these services is extremely important to help guide the decision for public funding. Often, the information that supports each application is very technical. Feedback from consumers can provide the ‘human story’ behind a particular condition and help the decision-makers understand how a particular medical intervention may improve health...Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Help to inform a decision on a therapy for epilepsy

    Do you have epilepsy? The Government is considering whether or not a therapy for epilepsy should attract a Medicare rebate. This treatment is called ‘vagus nerve stimulation’ and is intended as a treatment when all other conventional treatment options have been exhausted. The Consumers Health Forum is keen to hear from consumers who have epilepsy and have tried, or are not suitable for other forms of treatment (e.g. anti-epileptic drugs, epilepsy surgery). We want to know what health outcome you most want to see improve that isn’t addressed by your current treatment e.g. seizures, side...Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Do you have moderate or severe sensorineural hearing loss?

    The Government is considering whether or not a new form of treatment for this condition should attract a Medicare rebate. This treatment involves the insertion of an active middle ear implant to detect sound, and is intended as a treatment when all other conventional treatment options have been exhausted. The Consumers Health Forum is keen to hear from consumers who have sensorineural hearing loss and have tried, or are not suitable for other forms of treatment (e.g. conventional hearing aids). We want to know what health outcome you most want to see improve that isn’t addressed by your...Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Do you use a prescription medicine to treat psoriasis?

    Do you use a prescription medicine to treat psoriasis? CHF would like to hear from you. How well does your medication work? Have you had any difficulties with your medication? Have you ever taken a break from treatment, and why? Did stopping treatment make the psoriasis come back or get worse? Your views and experiences will help to shape a national policy decision about psoriasis treatment and management. Share your story anonymously below! You can also call or email CHF to arrange an informal telephone interview: 1300 700 214 or email [email protected] .Read more
  • From Latest News's picture

    Medicine shortages - how can you find out?

    The Medicine Shortages Information Initiative provides information about prescription medicine shortages in Australia. This information is provided to assist health professionals and consumers when there is a temporary or permanent disruption (discontinuation) to the supply of a medicine in Australia. The medicine shortages information on the website is mostly based on information provided voluntarily to the TGA by sponsors. The information provided refers to the supply of prescription medicines to the overall Australian market. This means that stock of a particular medicine may still be...Read more
  • Jabbed's picture


    When X-rays showed that I have osteoporosis In Dec 2013 I was injected with Prolia, a 6 monthly osteoporosis medication. Neither the prescribing pharmacist or the administrating GP mentioned potential side effects this medication can cause. I unfortunately suffer some of the side effects. I have gone from a healthy individual to a zombie. The rash caused from this medication is red and itchy, I have a lot of aches and pains in joints that I never had before, my brain is foggy and I don't feel my balance is as good as it was before the injection. I have contacted the manufacturer to find...Read more
  • From Latest News's picture

    Life-saving and/or profit-spinning? Do we know all we need to know about statins?

    ABC's Catalyst program over the last two weeks has raised questions about the role of cholesterol in heart disease - is it the cause, or just present at the scene of the crime? This week's program takes a look at one of the Australia's most widely prescribed medications - 'statins' - prescribed to lower cholesterol. Do we have the full story on the benefits and possible adverse impacts of statins? Big pharmaceutical companies undertake expensive research to bring us life-saving and life-improving drugs, and they stand to profit if the drug is used extensively. Is...Read more
  • Patient Opinion's picture

    side effects from medication not being picked up on

    From early August 2012 I began to experience severe nausea and vomiting which resulted in frequent hospital admissions due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. I was put through many tests and procedures to find the cause. Nothing was found. In early September I became even sicker, was diagnosed with Tardive Dyskinesia due to taking Maxalon to treat the nausea and vomiting. The nausea and vomiting continued till late November. It was at this time I realized through reading back through my diary that these symptoms began after my first admission to the cardiac ward where my dose of...Read more
  • piper09's picture

    A review of chemotherapy drugs needed

    The government should do a review of chemotherapy drugs in light of the fact that in a recent study it was shown that chemo played only a very minor role in cancer cure, being responsible for less than 2.4% of all cancer cures. See study at "The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies CONCLUSION: As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic...Read more
  • From Latest News's picture

    Do you pay more for your 'targeted' pain medication?

    The latest episode of ABC’s ‘The Checkout’ turns its attention to pain medication such as Nurofen which has you paying more ‘targeted’ pain relief for headaches, periods or backs. But how targeted are they? Are you paying more for a better product or just for a different label? You won’t want to miss this latest parody from ‘The Checkout’. Watch the clip here: then have your say!Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Do you think that there should be limitations on the types of sponsorship a prescribing doctor receives from pharmaceutical companies?

    From the poll: Under current laws, pharmaceutical companies can’t market their products directly to consumers, but are free to communicate with their doctors. A new parliamentary inquiry is investigating a Bill that proposes to regulate the interactions between these companies and doctors by banning sponsored overseas travel and putting limits on gifts and hospitality they receive. There is some opposition to the Bill, with industry groups saying that self-regulation, including recent changes to the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct ,...Read more
  • From Latest News's picture

    How much do you know about complementary medicines? The new ABC program, sparks some thought on the topic.

    The new ABC program, 'The Checkout', takes a satirical look at complementary medicines and answer questions such as: - What is a complementary medicine? - What does it mean to be 'listed' by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)? - What keeps non-scientifically proven complementary medicines on the market? Complementary medicines are a hot button issue because many Australian consumers believe that there are real benefits in using complementary medicines as an alternative to getting medical advice or as a way of searching for alternatives or supplement to conventional...Read more
  • InCanberra's picture

    High costs of generic drugs - a personal experience

    A story shared with the Consumers Health Forum of Australia by a Canberra health consumer. Comments by Norman Swan on ABC National’s Health Report in 2012, that pharmacists have a high mark-up on generic drugs, have encouraged me to negotiate a cheaper price for my three prescription drugs. I am currently on a Lipitor generic and two generic hypertension drugs. In the past I have been paying $87 per month. I live in Canberra so have access to a range of pharmacists. I was able to play one off against another and reduce the cost of my medication to $52 per month (a 40% reduction)! The quote on...Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Have your say on the Home Medicines Review program

    The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild) has called for a moratorium on the Home Medicines Review (HMR) Program. The HMR Program is funded under the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, and involves pharmacists visiting eligible consumers at their home, reviewing their medicine regimen, and providing the referring general practitioner with a report. The general practitioner and consumer then agree on a medicine management plan. The eligibility criteria are targeted towards high-risk consumers taking multiple medications. In recent months, demand for HMRs has increased, and the program is...Read more
  • elizd's picture

    The anti-depressant drug Pristiq

    I have just suffered 6 weeks of withdrawal from the anti-depressant Pristiq, which had been prescribed by my doctor and was available on the PBS. For most of this period I found that it was impossible to work and, for 4 weeks, impossible to drive. I have done the limited research into the drug possible via the internet and find that it was initially developed by Pfizer/Wyeth as an alternative to HRT in the treatment of hot flushes. It was subsequently promoted it as an anti-depressant to replace their anti-depressant Effexor, whose license had run out, and was licensed in the USA and other...Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Australians aged over 50 skipping medications due to cost

    A new report published by National Seniors Australia has found that a fifth (21%) of Australians aged 50 to 64 experiencing financial strain from the cost of prescription medicines are skipping doses to deal with the growing costs. (This compares to 12% of those aged 65 plus.) Key findings include: - 30% of those aged 50-64 report financial strain in the past five years due to prescription medicines (compared to only 13% for those aged 75 plus) - 21% of those aged 50 to 64 who face financial strain are “rationing” their pills because of the cost (compared to12% of those aged 65 plus) - 41% of...Read more
  • Reps in the Know's picture

    We need better labelling of over-the-counter, non-prescription medicines

    Consumer advocate Janne Graham AM presented a consumer perspective on regulation and labelling for over-the-counter, non-prescription medicines at the 2012 ARCS Scientific Congress in Canberra. Janne said that consumers need information about over-the-counter non-prescription medicines when we are deciding if to buy, what to buy, and how and when to use these medicines. We need this information at the point of purchase – it should be available on the packaging. Janne said that there should be strong justification for marketing claims made by manufacturers. To support transparency and clarity...Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    New adverse event database

    The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has recently launched a new online database that you can use to find information about adverse events that have been reported to the TGA. (Adverse events are unwanted and sometimes harmful outcomes. An adverse event may or may not be related to a medicine, and it is not the same as a side effect.) You can check out the database at . What do you think of it? Will you use it to find out more about adverse events?Read more
  • CHF Team's picture

    Medicines Australia Code of Conduct Review - Does it go far enough?

    Medicines Australia has just released the latest edition of its Code of Conduct for consultation ( ). They say it’s a shift towards greater transparency ( ), but some want it to go further – for example, Greens Senator Richard di Natale has said he’ll put forward legislation banning all inducements from pharmaceutical companies to doctors ( ). What do you think – does the new Code go far enough, or should there be tougher...Read more
  • scarbury's picture


    I had a prescription filled the other day at a different pharmacy than the one I usually go to. I usually get the name brand medicine but on this occassion they only had the generic brand. When I went to collect my script the pharmacist had a sticker on the medicine with the brand name written on it and spent some time explaining that it was exactly the same medication. It was great. No chance I would double up or miss taking my medication.Read more
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