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TGA stakeholder survey 2018

20 December 2018

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Reputation, trust and risk management

There is a strong level of trust that the TGA will perform its role with integrity, with 86% of respondents to this question highlighting agreement and a small number disagreeing with the statement. This outcome is consistent with previous years and shows a strong ongoing level of trust in the TGA as a regulator.

Table 6: Reputation, trust and risk management

Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements:
Statement Nett Disagree Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree Nett Agree N
The TGA gets the balance right between risks and benefits of therapeutic goods* 15 4 11 17 51 18 69 2,136
I trust the TGA to perform its role ethically and with integrity 6 3 3 9 41 44 86 2,194

*Note: wording change between 2017 and 2018. Previous wording: "Australia gets the balance right between the risks associated with therapeutic goods and their benefits"

The statement focusing on the TGA getting the balance right between risks and benefits of therapeutic goods shows a lower level of agreement (69%); however, those in agreement considerably outweigh those who disagree (15%). As was the case for the trust focussed question, the outcomes in 2018 are similar to those observed across previous surveys, with the level of agreement in relation to the 'Balance right' question observed at 71% in 2017 and 68% in 2016 (Table 7 and Figure 7).

Table 7: Balance and Trust - 2016 - 2018 (%)

Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements:
Statement Nett Disagree Neither Nett Agree Nett Disagree Neither Nett Agree Nett Disagree Neither Nett Agree
2018 2017 2016
Balance right 15 17 69 12 13 71 15 13 68
I trust the TGA 6 9 86 5 6 88 6 9 85

N=2,136-2,519; *Note: Wording change between 2017 and 2018 in relation to 'Balance right' question.

Figure 7: Balance and Trust - 2016 - 2018 Nett Agreement (%)
Percentage chart of Table 7 Nett Agreement data

N=2,136-2,519

Across the two measures here, there is a slight tendency for lower levels of agreement by Health professionals and (to a lesser extent) Retailers (Figures 8 and 11). Media stakeholders also show lower levels of agreement; however, the sample size for this group is very small (N=2) and does not allow meaningful analysis to occur.

Getting the balance right

Government (75%), Academic (72%) and Medical Products Industry (70%) participants are most likely to identify agreement in relation to the perceptions that the TGA gets the balance right in its role. In contrast, Retailers (64% Nett agreement) and Health professionals (59%) show generally lower agreement and, in the case of Health professionals, higher levels of disagreement (21%). The outcomes here for both Retailers and Health professionals represent a downward shift from the previous survey where agreement was observed at 75% and 70% respectively.

Figure 8: Gets the balance right by stakeholder group (%)
Column chart - see Figure 8 in tabular format

Med prod ind: N=1,457; Health pro: N=208; Retailer: N=69; Gov: N=64; Academic: N=57; Media: N=2; Other: N=273.

Figure 8: Gets the balance right by stakeholder group (%)
Stakeholder group Nett disagree Nett agree
Total 15 69
Medical products industry 15 70
Health professional 21 59
Retailer 14 64
Government 9 75
Academic 5 72
Media 0 50
Other, please specify 12 72
No answer 33 67

Med prod ind: N=1,457; Health pro: N=208; Retailer: N=69; Gov: N=64; Academic: N=57; Media: N=2; Other: N=273.

In the case of Health professionals, breakdowns across professional categories show large variations across the sub-groups identified within this category (Figure 9). There is generally strong agreement amongst Pharmacists (73%), Nurses (74%) and (to a lesser extent) Medical practitioners (66%). The overall lower level of agreement is driven strongly by Complementary healthcare practitioners (34% Nett agreement and 58% Nett disagreement) and those who identify in the Other category (56% Nett agreement). It is notable that Complementary healthcare practitioners are the only grouping across the survey where disagreement outweighs agreement on this measure.

Figure 9: Gets the balance right - Health professionals (%)
Column chart - see Figure 9 in tabular format

Pharmacist: N=33; Med prac: N=44; Nurse: N=23; Comp health: N=38; Dental: N=8; Other: N=61.

Figure 9: Gets the balance right - Health professionals (%)
Health professional category Nett Disagree Nett Agree
Total 15 69
Pharmacist 9 73
Medical practitioner 18 66
Nurse 4 74
Complementary healthcare practitioner 58 34
Dental practitioner 13 63
Other health professional, please specify 15 56

Pharmacist: N=33; Med prac: N=44; Nurse: N=23; Comp health: N=38; Dental: N=8; Other: N=61.

Outcomes among Medical products industry participants are generally consistent across the sub-categories in this grouping (Figure 10). The exception here is Regulatory affairs consultants, who show a generally higher tendency to agree (82%) and a lower propensity to disagree (7%). The outcome for Industry association representatives (64% nett agreement and 18% Nett disagreement) shows a shift from 2017, where disagreement (57%) outweighed agreement (29%). Whilst this potentially represents a substantial shift, it is relevant to highlight the small sample size across these measures, with only 11 Industry Association representatives identified in the current years sample (and 14 in 2017).

Figure 10: Gets the balance right - Medical products industry (%)
Column chart - see Figure 10 in tabular format

Sponsor: N=892; Manufacturer: N=396; Reg Affairs Con: N=103; Ind Assoc Rep: N=11; Other: N=51.

Figure 10: Gets the balance right - Medical products industry (%)
Medical products industry category Nett Disagree Nett Agree
Total 15 69
Product sponsor 15 69
Product manufacturer 16 67
Regulatory affairs consultant 7 82
Industry association representative 18 64
Other, please specify 10 80

Sponsor: N=892; Manufacturer: N=396; Reg Affairs Con: N=103; Ind Assoc Rep: N=11; Other: N=51.

Trust in the TGA

As was the case in both 2016 and 2017, trust in the TGA is strong for all groupings in the survey, with more than seven in ten respondents across all of the major stakeholder categories highlighting agreement that they trust the TGA to act ethically and with integrity (Figure 11). Agreement on this statement is particularly strong in Medical products industry, Academic, Retailer and Government categories.

Levels of trust are very high amongst health professionals in the Medical practitioner, Nurse Pharmacist and Other categories. Similarly to the previously identified pattern relating to 'Balance right', the overall slightly lower level of agreement for Health professionals in comparison to other broad groupings in the survey is driven by lower agreement by Complementary healthcare practitioners (46% Nett agreement and 38% Nett disagreement). Dental practitioners are also observed at slightly lower agreement levels, although the overall outcome for this group remains strong (Figure 12).

Figure 11: Trust in the TGA by stakeholder group (%)
Column chart - see Figure 11 in tabular format

Med prod ind: N=1,490; Health pro: N=210; Retailer: N=72; Gov: N=65; Academic: N=62; Media: N=2; Other: N=287.

Figure 11: Trust in the TGA by stakeholder group (%)
Stakeholder group Nett disagree Nett agree
Total 6 86
Medical products industry 5 86
Health professional 10 79
Retailer 11 82
Government 5 85
Academic 2 90
Media 0 50
Other, please specify 5 87
No answer 33 67

Med prod ind: N=1,490; Health pro: N=210; Retailer: N=72; Gov: N=65; Academic: N=62; Media: N=2; Other: N=287.

Figure 12: Trust in the TGA - Health professionals (%)
Column chart - see Figure 12 in tabular format

Pharmacist: N=33; Med prac: N=44; Nurse: N=24; Comp health: N=37; Dental: N=8; Other: N=63.

Figure 12: Trust in the TGA - Health professionals (%)
Health professional category Nett Disagree Nett Agree
Total 6 86
Pharmacist 3 91
Medical practitioner 7 84
Nurse 4 88
Complementary healthcare practitioner 38 46
Dental practitioner 13 75
Other health professional, please specify 3 86

Pharmacist: N=33; Med prac: N=44; Nurse: N=24; Comp health: N=37; Dental: N=8; Other: N=63.

Trust levels are consistently high amongst all categories within the Medical products industry grouping, ranging from a high of 92% Nett agreement by Regulatory affairs consultants to a low of 73% amongst Industry association representatives. This overall pattern is similar to that observed in 2017.

Figure 13: Trust in the TGA - Medical products industry (%)
Column chart - see Figure 13 in tabular format

Sponsor: N=907; Manufacturer: N=409; Reg Affairs Con: N=104; Ind Assoc Rep: N=11; Other: N=55.

Figure 13: Trust in the TGA - Medical products industry (%)
Medical products industry category Nett Disagree Nett Agree
Total 6 86
Product sponsor 5 86
Product manufacturer 4 86
Regulatory affairs consultant 2 92
Industry association representative 18 73
Other, please specify 7 89

Sponsor: N=907; Manufacturer: N=409; Reg Affairs Con: N=104; Ind Assoc Rep: N=11; Other: N=55.

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