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TGA stakeholder survey 2017

26 April 2018

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Communications, information and contact with the TGA

Communication and information services - Use

Contact with the TGA is strongly focussed on the TGA website, eBusiness services portal and email subscription services (Table 14 and Figure 50). Ninety six percent of participants highlight use of the TGA website, making it by far the most commonly used information channel. This outcome is consistent across all stakeholder groupings. Regular use of the website is also common, with just over 1 in 3 participants highlighting use once a week or more commonly. Regular use is most common amongst Medical products industry (43%) and Government stakeholders (35%; Table 15).

Table 14: Information service - Frequency of use (%)

Please indicate how much you use the following TGA services:
Service Never Less than once a month About once a month Two or three times a month About once a week More than once a week Any use N
TGA website 3 28 19 14 11 24 96 2320
TGA eBusiness services portal 11 31 15 11 8 22 87 2313
Email subscription information services 27 26 11 8 12 11 68 2312
TGA Consultation Forecast 53 20 9 5 3 2 40 2307
TGA RSS feed 69 14 4 3 2 1 24 2303
TGA Twitter 86 7 1 1 1 0 11 2311
TGA roadshows 64 26 2 1 1 0 30 2305
TGA information sessions 46 40 5 1 1 1 48 2306
TGA conference booth 69 22 2 1 0 0 25 2306

Table 15: TGA Website - Frequency of use by stakeholder category (%)

Please indicate how much you use the following TGA services:
Professional category Never Less than once a month About once a month Two or three times a month About once a week More than once a week Not sure N
Health professional 6 39 25 11 10 8 1 220
Community member, consumer or community representative 0 46 38 8 0 8 0 13
Medical products industry 2 22 17 15 12 31 1 1341
Retailer 7 33 25 10 10 12 2 99
Government 0 33 24 9 15 20 0 55
Academic 3 48 25 16 4 3 0 67
Media 0 0 0 0 50 0 50 2
Other, please specify 5 29 19 13 10 22 2 345

The eBusiness services portal is accessed by more than 85% of participants, with use substantially higher amongst Medical products industry (93%) and Government stakeholders (91%) and lower amongst Community members (67%) and health professionals (76%).

Email subscription services are regularly accessed amongst the respondent group, with just over two in three highlighting some use of this service. Use is highest amongst Medical products industry, Retailers and Health professionals.

Despite being substantially lower than the core online channels, Roadshow, Information session and Conference booth events are all highlighted by significant numbers of survey participants as methods of contact that they have used. Given the relatively low frequency of these events as well as the strong potential face to face engagement of these formats, these outcomes continue to highlight a strong TGA presence and relatively strong interest amongst the sampled stakeholders in participation and engagement with TGA.

RSS feeds and Twitter are not frequently accessed or used, with just under one in four highlighting any use of the RSS feed and just over one in ten using TGA Twitter. These levels, whilst suggesting a minor increase, remain similar to those observed in 2016 (Table 16).

Figure 50: Information service - Frequency of use (%)

see Figure 50 in tabular format

N=2,303-2,320

Service Never Less than once a month About once a month Two or three times a month About once a week More than once a week Not sure
TGA website 3 28 19 14 11 24 1
TGA eBusiness services portal 11 31 15 11 8 22 2
Email subscription information services 27 26 11 8 12 11 5
TGA Consultation forecast 53 20 9 5 3 2 7
TGA RSS feed 69 14 4 3 2 1 7
TGA Twitter 86 7 1 1 1 0 3
TGA roadshows 64 26 2 1 1 0 6
TGA information sessions 46 40 5 1 1 1 6
TGA conference booth 69 22 2 1 0 0 6

There is a general trend toward a slight increase in overall use compared to 2016. In particular, consistent (small) decreases in the proportion of respondents who Never use the services are identified across all information channels (except the website where the overall use remains very high; Table 16).

Table 16: TGA information service - Frequency of use - 2016 vs 2017 (%)

Service Never Once a month or less 2-3 times a month or more Never Once a month or less 2-3 times a month or more
2017 2016
TGA website 3 47 49 3 46 49
TGA eBusiness services portal 11 46 41 12 44 42
Email subscription info services 27 37 31 30 36 28
TGA Consultation Forecast 53 30 10 57 29 7
TGA RSS feed 69 18 6 72 16 6
TGA Twitter 86 9 2 87 8 1
TGA roadshows 64 28 1 65 29 1
TGA information sessions 46 45 3 47 44 3
TGA conference booth 69 24 1 70 23 1

Table 17: Service use by Stakeholder category (% any use)

Please indicate how much you use the following TGA services:
Service Health pro Comm'ty member Medical prod ind Retailer Gov Academic Media Other
Website 93 100 97 91 100 97 50 93
eBusiness portal 76 67 91 84 91 79 50 83
Email subscription 58 62 71 68 56 45 100 63
Consult'n Forecast 35 38 43 37 29 24 100 33
RSS feed 22 31 24 27 16 19 50 23
Twitter 11 15 10 17 7 16 0 7
Roadshows 21 15 34 23 24 21 0 25
Info sessions 37 46 52 37 56 45 0 43
Conference booth 18 15 27 22 26 27 0 19

Health pro: 217-220; Community: 12-13; Med prod ind: 1329-1341; Retailer: 97-99; Gov: 54-55; Academic: 66-67; Media: 1-2; Other: 340-345.

Table 18: Service use - Health professionals (% any use)

Please indicate how much you use the following TGA services:
Service Comp healthcare prac Dental practitioner Medical practitioner Nurse Pharmacist Other
Website 96 88 85 100 100 93
eBusiness portal 83 50 61 88 79 81
Email subscription 75 38 46 53 71 58
Consult'n Forecast 42 13 26 35 41 40
RSS feed 25 13 22 24 31 20
Twitter 8 14 11 0 17 12
Roadshows 25 25 24 12 24 18
Info sessions 42 25 28 29 38 42
Conference booth 17 25 20 6 28 15

Comp health: 23-24; Dental: 7-8; Med pro: 46; Nurse: 17; Pharmacist: 28-29; Other: 89-91.

Table 19: Service use - Medical products industry (% any use)

Please indicate how much you use the following TGA services:
Service Product sponsor Product manufacturer Reg affairs consultant Industry assoc'n rep Other
Website 98 95 97 100 95
eBusiness portal 94 83 96 79 84
Email subscription 75 65 77 64 52
Consult'n Forecast 47 34 55 46 25
RSS feed 26 21 28 29 18
Twitter 9 11 12 0 11
Roadshows 38 26 45 21 14
Info sessions 57 41 67 43 27
Conference booth 31 20 35 7 9

Sponsor: 754-764; Manufacturer: 394-398; Reg Affairs Con: 114-116; Ind Assoc Rep: 13-14; Other: 44-44.

Usefulness of information

Consistent with the findings in 2016, there is large variation in the perceived usefulness of information services provided by the TGA. The services that are most positively viewed are TGA guidelines (75%) nett Very or Extremely Useful, TGA updates (64%), TGA safety information (57%) and TGA eBS Notices (53%). The remaining information services show Nett Very or Extremely Useful outcomes ranging from 19% for SME assist to 51% for TGA consultations (Figure 51). Generally those who rate the services as Very or Extremely useful outweighed those who rate the services as Not at all or Slightly useful, however for SME assist, Medicines shortages alerts and Prescription medicine NCE registrations this is not the case. These services are also characterised by high Not applicable response levels, confirming the targeted nature of these information resources.

Figure 51: Usefulness of information services (%)

see Figure 51 in tabular format

N=1,248-1,549

Information service Nett Slightly useful Moderately useful Nett Very useful Not applicable
TGA Update 11 23 54 3
TGA Safety information 13 25 27 5
TGA Consultations 15 23 51 12
TGA AusPAR 21 21 25 33
TGA Guidelines 7 16 75 3
TGA eBS Notices 14 25 53 9
Medicines Safety Update 16 22 40 22
Medical Devices Safety Update 18 21 47 15
Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons 18 20 37 25
SME Assist 26 19 19 36
Medicines Shortages Alerts 29 15 20 36
Prescription medicine NCE registrations 26 14 24 36

Comparison of ratings across surveys highlights a small yet generally positive trend toward higher proportions of useful ratings couple with lower levels of Not at all or Slightly useful ratings. In particular, TGA updates (64% 2017 Nett useful versus 58% 2016; 6% rise), TGA consultations (51% vs 46%l 5% rise) and TGA safety information (57% vs 53%; 4% rise) showed notable rises in Nett usefulness.

Table 20: Usefulness of information services - 2016 vs 2017

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Service Nett Slightly useful Moderately useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Moderately useful Nett Very useful Change Nett Very useful
2017 2016
TGA Update 11 23 64 14 26 58 6
TGA Safety information 13 25 57 15 28 53 4
TGA Consultations 15 23 51 18 25 46 5
TGA AusPAR 21 21 25 24 21 24 1
TGA Guidelines 7 16 75 8 17 73 2
TGA eBS Notices 14 25 53 15 25 52 1
Medicines Safety Update 16 22 40 19 21 38 3
Medical Devices Safety Update 18 21 47 19 22 44 3
Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons 18 20 37 22 20 35 2
SME Assist 26 19 19 - - - -
Medicines Shortages Alerts 29 15 20 29 17 22 -2
Prescription medicine NCE registrations 26 14 24 27 14 24 0

Tables 19-21 show variation in usefulness across major stakeholder categories. Across most categories, Community members tend to rate the usefulness higher, however the small sample sizes here make these outcomes unreliable.

Medical products industry participants view TGA updates more positively than other groups (68%), with Health professionals and Academics in particular both less likely to rate usefulness positively and more likely to view it negatively.

TGA consultations are slightly more favoured amongst Medical products industry (54%) and Academic (46%) groups, highlighting the low overall usefulness amongst other groups when compared to the overall average (which is strongly influenced by the large industry group).

AUSpar shows generally low usefulness amongst all groups, in particular Retailer (20%), Academic (17%) and Government (7%) stakeholders. TGA guidelines are strongly valued across all groups, although Industry participants (79%) and Academics (73%) show particularly high levels of useful ratings for this resource.

TGA Safety information, Medicines Safety updates and Medical devices safety updates are generally consistently viewed across stakeholder groups, although in the case of Safety updates, Industry members appear less likely to value this source.

Table 21: Usefulness of information services by stakeholder category - Part A (%)

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Professional category TGA Update TGA Safety information TGA Consultations TGA AusPAR
Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful
Total 11 64 13 57 15 51 21 25
Health professional 21 52 18 52 20 42 28 23
Community member 25 75 25 75 25 75 38 63
Medical products industry 9 68 12 59 14 54 21 27
Retailer 15 51 10 59 12 39 21 20
Government 10 45 10 61 13 35 17 7
Academic 20 43 17 57 13 50 20 17
Media 0 100 0 100 0 100 100 0
Other 10 60 12 52 13 48 18 19

Health professional: N=107-128.Community member: N=8-8; Medical products industry: N=759-960; Retailer: N=57-68; Government: N=28-32; Academic: N=28-30; Media: N=0-1; Other: N=182-222.

Table 22: Usefulness of information services by stakeholder category - Part B (%)

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Professional category TGA Guidelines TGA eBS Notices Medicines safety Update Medical Devices Safety Update
Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful
Total 7 75 14 53 16 40 18 47
Health professional 11 65 20 39 16 48 20 45
Community member 13 75 13 75 13 75 25 63
Medical products industry 6 79 12 57 17 39 18 49
Retailer 13 61 15 50 15 46 17 47
Government 0 68 23 35 13 45 10 52
Academic 7 73 17 27 10 47 10 50
Media 0 100 0 100 0 0 0 0
Other 6 71 14 51 15 36 17 38

Health professional: N=107-128.Community member: N=8-8; Medical products industry: N=759-960; Retailer: N=57-68; Government: N=28-32; Academic: N=28-30; Media: N=0-1; Other: N=182-222.

Table 23: Usefulness of information services by stakeholder category - Part C (%)

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Professional category Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons SME Assist Medicines Shortages Alerts Prescription medicine NCE registrations
Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful
Total 18 37 26 19 29 20 26 24
Health professional 21 43 28 18 26 31 27 28
Community member 13 75 25 75 13 75 13 75
Medical products industry 19 35 27 18 31 19 26 26
Retailer 14 47 25 29 33 16 32 17
Government 21 32 23 13 23 23 28 16
Academic 14 39 27 17 20 27 20 20
Media - - 0 0 0 0 100 0
Other 16 37 24 15 25 17 25 18

Health professional: N=107-128.Community member: N=8-8; Medical products industry: N=759-960; Retailer: N=57-68; Government: N=28-32; Academic: N=28-30; Media: N=0-1; Other: N=182-222.

Within the Health professionals grouping (Tables 24-26), there are observable differences across categories. Pharmacists are most positively engaged with a broad range of information channels and resources. Dental practitioners (and to a lesser extent Medical practitioners) are generally more engaged with Medicines and Medical devices focussed alerts and updates (including shortages and alerts). In contrast, complementary healthcare practitioners in general tend to be less engaged across the range of information sources identified.

Table 24: Usefulness of information services - Medical professionals - Part A (%)

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Medical professionals TGA Update TGA Safety information TGA Consultations TGA AusPAR
Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful
Total 11 64 13 57 15 51 21 25
Comp healthcare 28 56 22 56 22 56 22 22
Dental practitioner 33 33 33 33 33 33 50 50
Medical practitioner 33 33 29 33 20 30 33 24
Nurse 10 60 0 60 0 56 11 22
Pharmacist 15 85 5 85 10 60 30 50
Other 19 45 21 48 25 37 27 14

Comp health: N=15-18.Dental: N=3-3; Med pro: N=19-21; Nurse: N=9-10; Pharmacist: N=14-20; Other: N=44-53.

Table 25: Usefulness of information services - Medical professionals - Part B (%)

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Medical professionals TGA Guidelines TGA eBS Notices Medicines Safety Update Medical Devices Safety Update
Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful
Total 7 75 14 53 16 40 18 47
Comp healthcare 17 56 22 39 22 44 28 28
Dental practitioner 33 67 33 67 33 67 33 67
Medical practitioner 14 57 25 30 0 48 0 55
Nurse 0 67 11 56 0 56 0 44
Pharmacist 5 85 15 35 5 84 15 50
Other 10 67 22 37 27 33 31 40

Comp health: N=15-18.Dental: N=3-3; Med pro: N=19-21; Nurse: N=9-10; Pharmacist: N=14-20; Other: N=44-53.

Table 26: Usefulness of information services - Medical professionals - Part C (%)

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Medical professionals Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons SME Assist Medicines Shortages Alerts Prescription medicine NCE registrations
Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful
Total 18 37 26 19 29 20 26 24
Comp healthcare 27 40 39 17 33 22 33 22
Dental practitioner 33 67 33 67 33 67 33 67
Medical practitioner 11 53 10 25 19 33 29 24
Nurse 0 44 0 10 0 30 0 33
Pharmacist 7 79 30 30 25 70 16 47
Other 30 30 35 12 32 19 35 21

Comp health: N=15-18.Dental: N=3-3; Med pro: N=19-21; Nurse: N=9-10; Pharmacist: N=14-20; Other: N=44-53.

Within the Medical products industry grouping, Regulatory affairs consultants continue to be a key user of resources, showing strong perceptions of usefulness across a broad range of measures (Tables 27-29). Product sponsors and Manufacturers also show strong usefulness ratings across a range of resources, whilst Industry association representatives tend to show lower usefulness ratings.

Table 27: Usefulness of information services – Medical products industry – Part A (%)

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Industry category TGA Update TGA Safety information TGA Consultations TGA AusPAR
Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful
Total 11 64 13 57 15 51 21 25
Product sponsor 10 70 11 61 14 57 21 28
Product manufacturer 10 62 12 53 16 44 22 20
Reg affairs con 3 82 12 65 9 60 16 44
Ind assoc'n rep 30 40 30 50 22 33 33 0
Other 4 70 9 74 9 61 22 26

Sponsor: N=455-575.Manufacturer: N=216-260; Reg Affairs Con: N=61-89; Ind Assoc Rep: N=5-10; Other: N=19-23.

Table 28: Usefulness of information services – Medical products industry – Part B (%)

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Medical professionals TGA Guidelines TGA eBS Notices Medicines Safety Update Medical Devices Safety Update
Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful
Total 7 75 14 53 16 40 18 47
Product sponsor 5 80 11 60 15 40 18 49
Product manufacturer 8 74 19 48 22 33 20 47
Reg affairs con 4 90 3 73 11 49 15 58
Ind assoc'n rep 11 56 22 11 11 56 33 44
Other 0 74 13 52 17 43 4 48

Sponsor: N=455-575.Manufacturer: N=216-260; Reg Affairs Con: N=61-89; Ind Assoc Rep: N=5-10; Other: N=19-23.

Table 29: Usefulness of information services – Medical products industry – Part C (%)

Please indicate how useful the following information services are for you in your role:
Medical professionals Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons SME Assist Medicines Shortages Alerts Prescription medicine NCE registrations
Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful Nett Slightly useful Nett Very useful
Total 18 37 26 19 29 20 26 24
Product sponsor 18 36 26 17 30 20 24 28
Product manufacturer 23 28 26 18 30 17 30 16
Reg affairs con 8 54 34 20 33 24 23 40
Ind assoc'n rep 20 20 40 30 40 10 33 11
Other 16 21 23 23 35 13 26 17

Sponsor: N=455-575.Manufacturer: N=216-260; Reg Affairs Con: N=61-89; Ind Assoc Rep: N=5-10; Other: N=19-23.

Frequency of contact

Just under half of survey participants report being in contact with the TGA Less than once a month (48%). A further four percent (4%) highlight that they Never have contact. Just under 3 in 10 participants highlight contact frequency of About once a month (15%) or Two or three times a month (13%; Table 30). Those in very regular contact (More than once a week) account for one in 10 stakeholders with a slightly smaller amount being in contact about once a week (6%). The patterns here are similar to those recorded in the 2016 survey.

Table 30: Frequency of contact with the TGA

How often do you have contact with the TGA?
Year Never Less than once a month About once a month Two or three times a month About once a week More than once a week Not sure N
2017 4 48 15 13 6 10 4 2269
2016 5 51 17 12 6 9 - 2429

Figure 52: Frequency of contact with TGA (%)

Column chart of 2017 data from Table 30

N=2,269

Those in the Medical products industry and Government stakeholders tend to be in contact more frequently than other groups (Table 31 and Figure 53). Half of these groups report being in contact monthly or more often. Within the Medical products industry, frequency of contact is highest amongst Regulatory affairs consultants (70% Monthly or more often) Product sponsors (58%) and Industry association representatives (64%). Product manufacturers are less frequently in contact (30%).

Table 31: Frequency of contact by stakeholder category (%)
Professional category Never Less than once a month About once a month Two or three times a month About once a week More than once a week Not sure N
Health professional 6 58 11 14 2 5 4 220
Community 8 77 0 8 0 0 8 13
Medical prod ind 3 44 15 14 9 12 3 1338
Retailer 10 55 19 6 1 3 6 99
Government 7 36 14 13 4 20 7 56
Academic 4 72 15 7 0 0 1 67
Media 50 50 0 0 0 0 0 2
Other 6 47 16 12 5 8 6 346

Figure 53: Frequency of contact – Monthly or more often - with TGA by Stakeholder category

see Figure 53 in tabular format

Health pro: 220; Community: 13; Med prod ind: 1338; Retailer: 99; Gov: 56; Academic: 67; Media: 2; Other: 346.

Stakeholder category Number
Health professional 32
Community 8
Medical products industry 50
Retailer 29
Government 50
Academic 22
Media 0
Other 40

Figure 54: Frequency of contact – Monthly or more often - with TGA – Medical products industry (%)

see Figure 54 in tabular format

Sponsor: N=763.Manufacturer: N=396; Reg Affairs Con: N=116; Ind Assoc Rep: N=14; Other: N=43.

Medical products industry category %
Product sponsor 58
Product manufacturer 30
Regulatory affairs consultant 70
Industry association representative 64
Other 40

Health professionals (32%), Retailers (29%) and Academics (22%) all show regular contact at lower levels. Within the Health professionals category, contact levels are highest amongst Pharmacists (45% monthly or more often) and complementary healthcare professionals (33%).

Figure 55: Frequency of contact – Monthly or more often - with TGA – Health professionals (%)

see Figure 55 in tabular format

Comp health: N=24.Dental: N=8; Med pro: N=46; Nurse: N=17; Pharmacist: N=29; Other: N=91.

Health professional category %
Complementary healthcare practitioner 33
Dental practitioner 0
Medical practitioner 28
Nurse 18
Pharmacist 45
Other 33

Reasons for contact

The most commonly selected reasons to contact the TGA are to lodge an application and to check the progress of an application with the TGA (Table 32 and Figure 56). These reasons are most commonly highlighted by those in the Medical products industry category. Seeking information about products, information about manufacturing and importing/exporting focussed issues were also commonly identified amongst the range of stakeholders responding to the survey. Engagement with the TGA on issues related to consultation activities is also commonly identified.

Table 32: Reasons for contact

For which of the following do you contact the TGA?
Reason n
Lodging an application with the TGA 1500
Progress of an application with the TGA 1250
Information on specific product(s) 704
Information about manufacturing products 652
Importing/exporting products 613
In response to TGA consultation activities 593
Reporting, or enquiring about, a problem with a medical device or medicine 537
Product recall(s) 393
Feedback on TGA service delivery 278
Other, please specify 246
Not applicable - I don't contact the TGA* 65

*Note: 97 respondents highlighted at that they Never have contact with the TGA in the previous question. This group was not presented with the current question in the survey.

Responses identifying more specific issues, such as product recalls and problems with a device, or medicine shortage, while less commonly identified by participants, represent significant contact points.

Figure 56: Reasons for contact

Bar chart of Table 32 data

Respondents commonly highlight a range of reasons for making contact, with an average of 2.3 reasons per respondent. Most often, respondents highlight two, three or four reasons (Table 33). The overall pattern here is similar to that observed in the 2016 survey, although the average number of reasons for contact was down from 3.2 in 2016.

Table 33: Reasons for contact – number of reasons
Number of selections n
1 338
2 445
3 387
4 355
5 213
6 124
7 74
8 38
9 34
10 2
Average 2.3

In addition to the reasons provided in the survey, a range of Other reasons are identified in open ended options for this question. These include:

  • ACE scheme.
  • Advertising compliance, exemptions and complaints.
  • Fees and payments information.
  • ARTG.
  • Audit issues.
  • Clarification of issues - various (e.g. guidelines; legislation, regulations).
  • Clinical trials information.
  • CTN applications.
  • eSubmissions.
  • GMP audits and certification.
  • Information – general.
  • Ingredients.
  • Inspections - responses and reviews.
  • Licensing and licensing variations.
  • Medicinal cannabis.
  • Payments and fees.
  • Assistance with the website, portal or other IT.
  • Pharmacovigilance.
  • IVD queries.
  • Research.
  • Updating information or advice - e.g. contact information; registration information.

Contact channels

The most common contact channel is via email, followed by phone (Table 34 and Figure 57). Along with the website, these channels represent the key methods of contact that will be utilised by those wishing to make contact with TGA. The pattern is consistent with that observed in 2016. A notable difference compared to 2016 is that the proportion of overall selections accounted for by the website appears to be rising slightly, up from 16% of total selections to 18%.

This pattern of contact methods is similar across all groups and sub-groups in the survey.

Letter and fax contact methods are still utilised by a small proportion of people and will continue to need some monitoring and resourcing. These methods continue to be most commonly used by those in the Medical products industry and Health professionals. However, it is notable that as a proportion of the overall selections, both methods appear to be in decline, with the proportion of selections represented by fax contacts halving between 2016 and 2017 (1% down to 0.5%) and the proportion of Letter selections falling from 6% in 2016 to 4.5% in 2017.

Table 34: Contact channels

How do you contact the TGA?
Method n
Email 1,811
Telephone 1,434
Website 788
Letter 194
Fax 22
Other 33

Figure 57: Contact channel

Column chart of Table 34 data

Other contact methods identified in free text responses are:

  • Through the eBS or online portal.
  • Face to face.
  • Via a sponsor.
  • Via a consultant.
Table 35: Number of channels
Number of channels n
1 455
2 921
3 534
4 82
5 11
Average 1.5

A range of contact methods are used by individuals, although the average number of selections declined slightly between 2016 and 2017 (from 2.2 to 1.5 selections per respondent; Table 35). This was largely driven by a rise in the proportion of people selecting a single contact method (commonly email or phone).

Response times

Respondents who had highlighted use of the individual contact channels identified in the survey were asked to highlight how long it generally takes to receive a response (Table 36 and Figure 58). As expected, the contact method with the fastest average resolution time is phone, with just under three in ten highlighting immediate response and 83% experiencing a response in two days or less (2016 83%).

Website and email contacts also show strong response levels – 60% and 58% respectively receiving a response in two days or less. In both cases the remaining responses commonly report response times of between 3 and 10 days, with almost 1 in 3 responses in each of these categories falling within this band. This large group, representing a significant overall proportion of incoming contacts, presents a key opportunity for the TGA. Increasing perceptions and experiences of fast response times, particularly via the website channel, will promote the ongoing use of this contact method over (less efficient) phone contacts.

Table 36: Response times by contact category (%)

Generally, how long does it take the TGA to respond to your:
Method Immediately <1 day 1-2 days 3-10 days 11-20 days >20 days N
Phone enquiries 28 26 29 14 1 1 1392
Email 2 16 39 35 5 3 1764
Letter 0 3 5 48 21 23 180
Fax 5 9 32 36 9 9 22
Contact via the website 8 14 38 30 5 5 732
Other enquiry method 38 0 29 24 5 5 21

Figure 58: Response times by contact category (%)

Column chart of Table 36 data

N=21-1,764

As expected, Letter and Fax response times are slower, although in comparison to the 2016 outcomes, fax response time appear to have been streamlined, with the proportion of responses received in 2 days or less rising from 31% in 2016 to 45% in 2017 (Table 37). Response time patterns were generally similar across the range of stakeholder groups within the survey.

Table 37: Response times by contact category – 2016 vs 2017 (%)

Generally, how long does it take the TGA to respond to your:
Method Immediately 2 days or under 3-10 days 11+ days Immediately 2 days or under 3-10 days 11+ days
2017 2016
Phone enquiries 28 55 14 3 29 55 13 3
Email 2 56 35 8 1 53 35 11
Letter 0 8 48 44 1 6 44 50
Fax 5 41 36 18 2 29 44 24
Contact via the website 8 52 30 10 10 48 33 10
Other enquiry method 38 29 24 10 16 25 22 38

Satisfaction with response

Satisfaction with responses is high for both phone (72%) and email (70%) enquiries. Continued focus on call architecture, call answer times and limiting call forward experiences will be likely to maintain and improve the phone based outcomes. Further, ensuring that email responses are prompt and provide clear and relevant information leading to high resolution rates will be likely to reinforce use of this channel.

Contact via the website is generally positively viewed. This channel represents a key opportunity to promote and expand, with effective resolution via website visits representing a response mechanism requiring no direct staff investments. Promoting and ensuring that this channel is able to respond to a broad range of needs is key to ensuring continued uptake and use of website resources as a primary contact channel.

Figure 59: Satisfaction with response - contact type (%)

Bar chart of 2017 data from Table 38

Phone: N=1409; Email: N=1778; Letter: N=185; Fax: N=22; Website: N=751; Other: N=23

Trends across the 2016 and 2017 surveys highlight a similar pattern of responses, with positive satisfaction trends evident across most response channels (Table 38 and Figure 60). Nett satisfaction rose slightly across years for Phone, Email, Letter and Website contacts.

Table 38: Response satisfaction – 2016 vs 2017 (%)

Generally, how satisfied are you with the TGA response to your:
Response area Nett Dissatisfied Neither Nett Satisfied Nett Dissatisfied Neither Nett Satisfied Change Nett Satisfied
2017 2016
Phone enquiries 12 16 72 13 17 70 2
Email 12 18 70 15 20 66 4
Letter 16 22 62 17 27 56 6
Fax 18 32 50 11 27 62 -12
Contact via the website 10 25 65 11 26 63 3
Other enquiry method 13 30 57 11 22 67 -10

Figure 60: Satisfaction with response – 2016 vs 2017 (%)

Bar chart of Nett Satisfied data from Table 38

Figure 61: Nett satisfied – Phone, Email, Website - stakeholder category (%)

see Figure 61 in tabular format

Health pro: N=69-168; Community: N=7-10; Med prod ind: N=476-1113; Retailer: N=31-62; Gov: N=16-37; Academic: N=28-53; Media: N=0-1; Other: N=103-259.

Stakeholder group Phone enquiries Email Website
Total 72 70 65
Health professional 71 70 72
Community member 63 70 71
Medical products industry 74 71 63
Retailer 62 63 81
Government 62 57 44
Academic 77 75 68
Media 0 100 0
Other 73 70 64

Healthcare professionals show strong satisfaction across the three most commonly accessed communication channels (Figure 61). Within this group, these levels of satisfaction are driven by fluctuating experiences (Figure 62), however the small sample sizes here are small.

Figure 62: Nett satisfied - Phone, Email, Website – Healthcare professionals (%)

see Figure 62 in tabular format

Comp health: N=7-16; Dental: N=3-4; Med pro: N=8-37; Nurse: N=7-13; Pharmacist: N=11-23; Other: N=31-72;

Health professional category Phone enquiries Email Website
Total 72 70 65
Complementary healthcare practitioner 50 56 86
Dental practitioner 25 50 33
Medical practitioner 77 70 75
Nurse 92 77 71
Pharmacist 72 70 55
Other health professional 71 74 77

As with other areas of the survey, Product sponsors and Product manufacturers show satisfaction levels generally in line with or just above the overall average. In contrast, Industry association representatives and regulatory affairs consultants show generally lower than average results across the three main channels of Phone, Email and Website contact (Figure 63).

Figure 63: Nett satisfied - Phone, Email, Website – Medical products industry (%)

see Figure 63 in tabular format

Sponsor: N=288-653; Manufacturer: N=128-304; Reg Affairs Con: N=44-109; Ind Assoc Rep: N=2-11; Other: N=12-32.

Medical products industry category Phone enquiries Email Website
Total 72 70 65
Product sponsor 77 72 65
Product manufacturer 74 73 65
Regulatory affairs consultant 60 62 52
Industry association representative 38 36 50
Other 67 56 58

While the differences across stakeholder categories offer important insights into the experience of various groups making contact with the TGA, the main driver of satisfaction across all contact channels is response times. Figure 64 highlights the strong association here, with immediate and single day response times resulting in satisfaction levels of above 80% coupled with very low levels of dissatisfaction. Beyond this, increasing response times result in falling satisfaction and increasing dissatisfaction. Continued focus on achieving streamlined processes for responding to contacts is recommended. Target outcomes here will depend on the contact method being considered, with website optimisation, call architecture and call response outcomes, email handling processes and efforts to drive down use of less responsive channels such as fax and letter all potentially relevant strategies.

Figure 64: Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction with contact (all contact methods) vs Response time

see Figure 64 in tabular format
Response time Nett dissatisfied Nett satisfied
Immediately 5 83
Less than 1 day 4 88
1-2 days 6 78
3-10 days 17 54
11-20 days 29 34
More than 20 days 67 67

Communications - Overall satisfaction

Overall nett satisfaction with the experience of communicating with the TGA is observed at 69%, with 12% highlighting some level of dissatisfaction (Table 39). This level compares favourably with the 2016 results, representing a rise of 6% Nett satisfaction and a slight (3%) drop in Nett dissatisfaction.

Table 39: Communication- Overall satisfaction – 2016 vs 2017

Overall, how satisfied are you with the experience of COMMUNICATING with the TGA?
  Nett Dissatisfied Neither Nett Satisfied Nett Dissatisfied Neither Nett Satisfied Change Nett Satisfied
2017 2016
Satisfaction 12 19 69 15 22 63 6

Medical products industry (70% Nett satisfaction) and Health professionals (70%) show generally strong levels of satisfaction (Table 40). Within the Medical products industry category, high levels of satisfaction with communication outcomes are evident across both Product sponsor and Product manufacturer categories (73% and 70% respectively). As observed in a range of other areas within the survey, satisfaction is particularly low amongst the small group of Industry association representatives, with 5 of the 12 respondents satisfied with the overall outcome and a further 5 expressing dissatisfaction.

Within the health professional category, there are large fluctuations in satisfaction across the range of relatively small groups identified. Medical practitioner (69% Nett satisfied), Pharmacist (74%), Nurse (87%) and Other (70%) categories all showed generally strong levels of satisfaction. Importantly, overall Nett dissatisfaction amongst health professionals was consistently low (at or below 10% in most cases).

Government (49% Nett satisfied; 21% Nett dissatisfied) and Retailer (65% Nett satisfied; 16% Nett dissatisfied) stakeholders show relatively low levels of Nett satisfaction and relatively high levels of nett dissatisfaction. Whilst these groupings appear to represent a relatively small proportion of the stakeholder population, ensuring that communications are relevant, timely and targeted to the needs of these stakeholders is likely to address lower outcomes in this area.

Table 40: Communication – Overall satisfaction by Stakeholder category, Industry, and Health professional categories (%)

Overall, how satisfied are you with the experience of COMMUNICATING with the TGA?
Category Nett Dissatisfied Neither Nett Satisfied N
Stakeholder category
Health professional 10 20 70 191
Community 18 9 73 11
Medical products ind 11 18 70 1214
Retailer 16 19 65 81
Government 21 30 49 43
Academic 14 19 67 63
Media 0 0 100 1
Other 12 20 68 290
Medical products industry
Product sponsor 10 17 73 710
Product manufacturer 11 19 70 342
Regulatory affairs consultant 16 19 65 111
Ind assoc'n rep 42 17 42 12
Other 15 21 64 33
Health professional
Complementary healthcare practitioner 11 32 58 19
Dental practitioner 14 29 57 7
Medical practitioner 8 23 69 39
Nurse 7 7 87 15
Pharmacist 11 15 74 27
Other 10 20 70 80

Participants were provided with an opportunity to comment on their experience communicating with the TGA. These comments provided a broad range of feedback.

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