Performance statistics report: July 2015 to June 2016

28 September 2016

The TGA, through the Performance Statistics Report, provides detailed statistical information on our performance to our stakeholders.

This is the first time that we have published the Report in this format and will continue to provide this information annually for each July to June period.

We value your feedback as to how useful the information is to you. Any suggestions you may have on how we can improve the presentation or content of the reports is appreciated.

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Executive summary

The TGA provides information on our regulatory performance to our stakeholders through detailed statistical information. The following statistics cover the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016. This is the first report following a review of our reporting framework and the development of the TGA key performance indicators under the Regulator Performance Framework.

The performance statistics provided in this report should be read in conjunction with the Key Performance Indicator Report which outlines performance against our broad strategic intent, as required under the Government's Regulator Performance Framework.

Key observations: July 2015 to June 2016

Key observations for 2015-16 are summarised below, including trends and notable changes from previous reporting periods.

Prescription medicines

Over the past three years, the number of submissions received across some Category 1 application types has been relatively stable. Applications for new generic medicines and Extension of Indications (EOI) in 2015-16 were comparable to those received in 2013-14, following a slight drop in 2014-15. While New Chemical Entity (NCE) submissions were higher in 2015-16 than in 2014-15, they remained down on the high number received in 2013-14.

All Category 1 submissions processed in 2015-16 were within the legislated 255 working day timeframe with a modest decrease in average approval times for NCE, EOI and generic medicine applications. Median approval times for all application types were lower than previous years, including Additional Trade Name applications which reduced to 35 TGA working days following the introduction of a 45 day legislated timeframe from 1 July 2015.

Over-the-Counter medicines

The total number of new medicine applications received in 2015-16 was lower than in 2014-15, primarily due to a drop in the number of low risk (N1) applications.

The number of applications received to vary existing medicines and median approval times for the majority of application types remained largely consistent with previous periods. There was, however, a significant increase in approval times for N3 (new 'generic' medicine) and C4 (non-quality change) applications, likely influenced by varying application complexity.

Complementary medicines

The number of new ingredients permitted for use in listed medicines increased, primarily due to finalisation of the Permitted Ingredients List project which resulted in the approval of 10 new ingredients.

Compliance activity for complementary medicines increased during 2015-16. The number of compliance reviews more than doubled, largely the result of business process improvements to streamline the overall review process and improve review timelines. The number of investigations initiated also increased, driven by external factors including complaints and referrals.

Medicines with verified compliance breaches were 80% for 2015-16 compared to 73% for 2014-15, suggesting that the overall rate of non-compliance has remained high despite the significant increase in compliance reviews.

Labelling, advertising and evidence continued to be the major compliance breaches for listed medicines. In 2015-16, 13 products were found to have safety related issues, compared to no products in 2014-15. This increase in 2015-16 was largely a result of targeted work undertaken on safety of ingredients.

Biologicals

During 2015-16 there was a significant increase in applications received for variations to approved biologicals (Class 2). This was the result of transitional arrangements during 2014-15 to reflect new requirements under the regulatory framework for biologicals that commenced in May 2011.

Medicine and vaccine adverse event reports

Overall, adverse events reports in 2015-16 were similar to those in 2014-15. While the number of adverse event reports from pharmacists fell, reflecting a change to pharmacist reporting classifications during reporting periods, adverse event reporting from members of the public increased. This was likely the result of activity to promote adverse event reporting from consumers.

Medical devices

During 2015-16 we received 2,816 medical device applications for inclusion on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) (excluding the 2,685 Class I medical devices automatically included). A total of 3,266 applications were completed (including a number on hand at the commencement of the reporting period), with 92% of these approved. Two transition periods - for joint reclassification and commercial In-Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs) - ended on 30 June 2015. While high numbers of applications for these medical devices were received in 2014-15, the end of the transition period has seen an end to these applications.

Processing times for conformity assessment applications for new devices were well within the 200 TGA target days. However, processing times for Level 2 compulsory audits of applications were well above the target 60 TGA working days. Delays were due to a significant wait time for commencement of the clinical assessment component.

Post-market reviews for 83 devices were completed. The drop in activity was largely due to a number of device reviews that required a detailed clinical review.

An increase in the number of device incident reports may have been due to the inSite program (to improve awareness about medical device adverse event reporting) and increased vigilance within the medical community. As figures were collected at a point in time, the apparent disconnect between received and completed reports was likely the result of data crossing annual boundaries.

The IVD regulatory framework transition period for commercial IVDs ended on 30 June 2015. Application numbers for 2014-15 were higher due to extra applications associated with the transition. In 2015-16 application numbers fell, and were more representative of expected ongoing numbers.

Access to unapproved therapeutic goods

There was an increase in the number of Special Access Scheme Category B applications for biologicals in 2015-16, due to an increase in applications by dental practitioners for access to a dental product for bone grafts.

In relation to clinical trials, data for 2015-16 reflects the transition of the Clinical Trials Notification to an online system on 1 July 2015. During the transition process there was a parallel paper-based notification system. In addition, there were some differences between the previous paper-based system and the online form in the capturing and reporting of clinical trial information.

Medicines and biologicals manufacturing

Demand for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) clearance increased with 5,657 applications received in 2015-16. Major contributing factors included sponsors sourcing more products from new and multiple manufacturers, globalisation and company mergers, and overseas regulatory agencies undertaking more inspections in other countries, creating opportunities for evidence to be used in support of Australian GMP clearance applications. The increase in applications reduced the number of on-site inspections as evidence could be relied upon in lieu of an inspection.

There was an increase in the number of licences revoked at the request of manufacturers. The majority of these were the result of the relocation of services by The Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

Recalls

There was an increase in the number of recalls for medicines and medical devices that corresponded with an increase in the number of ARTG entries.

Laboratory testing

There was a significant increase in the number of unregistered products tested. This category of products traditionally has a high rate of failure due to counterfeiting and adulteration. The increase in testing of unregistered products also increased the overall percentage fail rate for all products tested in 2015-16.

Regulatory compliance

Regulatory compliance actions almost doubled in 2015-16 due to an increased number of referrals by the Australian Border Force, increased awareness through publication of safety alerts relating to specific unapproved products, and educational materials including videos about the risk of buying unapproved products online.

1. Prescription medicines

28 September 2016

Applications to register new or vary existing prescription medicines are accompanied by supportive scientific data and evaluated, with timeframes underpinned by legislation and/or associated business rules.

The framework for prescription medicines includes the following categories which are subject to legislated timeframes:

  • Category 1 application: An application to register a new prescription medicine (other than an additional trade name) or to make a variation to an existing medicine that involves the evaluation of clinical, pre-clinical or bio-equivalence data. For example, new chemical entities, extensions of indication and new routes of administration.
  • The legislated timeframes for the two stages of a Category 1 application are: 40 working days for notification of acceptance or rejection of the application and 255 working days for the completion of the evaluation and notification of the decision.
  • Category 2 application: An application accompanied by two independent evaluation reports from comparable overseas regulators in whose jurisdiction the product is approved for the same indication.
  • The legislated timeframes for the two stages of a Category 2 application are: 20 working days for notification of acceptance or rejection of an application and 175 working days to notify the applicant of the decision.
  • Category 3 application: An application to register or to vary the registration of a prescription medicine where the application does not require the support of clinical, pre clinical or bio-equivalence data. For example, a change in the site of manufacture, a change to the synthetic route, a change in the product specifications, a change in the steps of manufacture or a change in trade name.
  • The legislated timeframe for a Category 3 application is 45 working days for notification of acceptance or rejection of an application, completion of evaluation and notification of the decision.

1.1. Approval times

Once an application has been accepted by the TGA, the approval time is defined as the number of TGA working days until a decision is made. As detailed above, this timeframe is underpinned by legislation and excludes public holidays, weekends, the time allocated to the applicant to provide responses to requests for information and 'mutual clock stop' periods agreed with the applicant.

In accordance with the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990, a 'submission' may include a number of applications submitted at the one time. The data presented below relates to submissions as this best reflects the evaluation and decision-making processes.

Table 1 Prescription medicine approval times for July 2015 to June 2016
Approval time (days)
Application type Legislated timeframe Mean Median Minimum Maximum
A: New chemical entity
Category 1 255 193 199 94 253
B: New fixed-dose combination
Category 1 255 169 167 138 220
C: Extension of indication
Category 1 255 186 195 86 230
D: New generic medicine
Category 1 255 170 158 108 255
E: Additional trade name (ATN)
Category 1 255 212 219 129 254
ATN 45 33 35 19 54
F: Major variation
Category 1 255 181 183 42 255
G: Minor variation
Category 1 255 163 163 147 179
Category 3 45 20 19 6 40
H: Minor variation
Category 1 255 156 146 110 212
Category 3 45 22 20 2 84
J: Changes to Product Information requiring the evaluation of data
Category 1 255 133 134 14 211
Table 2 Prescription medicine median approval time comparisons
Median approval time (days)
Application type Legislated timeframe 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
A: New chemical entity
Category 1 255 211 215 199
B: New fixed-dose combination
Category 1 255 190 188 167
C: Extension of indication
Category 1 255 186 200 195
D: New generic medicine
Category 1 255 170 170 158
E: Additional trade name (ATN)
Category 1 255 186 194 219
ATN 45 N/A[a] N/A[a] 35
F: Major variation
Category 1 255 176 189 183
G: Minor variation[b]
Category 1 255 184 0[b] 163
Category 3 45 24 18 19
H: Minor variation[c]
Category 1 255 137 143 146
Category 3 45 22 19 20
J: Changes to Product Information requiring the evaluation of data
Category 1 255 134 143 134
  • [a] In July 2015, a new process was introduced for ATN submissions to which a 45 working day legislated timeframe was introduced. During the reporting period relevant to this report, these applications were under both the Category 1 framework with a legislated timeframe of 255 working days and the new ATN submission framework with a legislated timeframe of 45 working days.
  • [b] The type G minor variations differ from type H minor variations in that they result in a new Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods entry. No type G Category 1 applications were approved in 2014-15.
  • [c] The minor variations (type H) included in the table above refer to applications to change the formulation, composition or design specification or the container for the goods or any other attribute that results in the goods being separate and distinct. These applications are typically 'Category 3' changes, unless the supporting scientific package contains non-clinical or clinical data in which case the application is a 'Category 1' application.

Figure 1 Submissions Received 2013-14 to 2015-16

Submissions received 2013-2016

Figure 2 Mean approval times 2013-14 to 2015-16

Mean approval times 2013-2016

Figure 3 Median approval times 2013-14 to 2015-16

Median approval times 2013-2016

1.2. Submission outcomes

Table 3 Number of completed prescription medicine submissions by type and outcome for July 2015 to June 2016
Submission Type Approved Withdrawn Rejected Total
A: New chemical entity 38 4 1 43
B: New fixed-dose combination 7 0 0 7
C: Extension of indication 44 2 0 46
D: New generic medicine 123 16 3 142
E: Additional trade name (ATN) (Category 1) 38 2 0 40
E: ATN 32 0 0 32
F: Major variation 40 5 1 46
G: Minor variation 2 1 0 3
H: Minor variation (Category 1) 3 0 0 3
H: Minor variation (Category 3) 1,276 9 0 1,285
J: Changes to Product Information 81 4 0 85
Total 1,684 43 5 1,732

1.3. Other applications

In addition to the application types discussed above, we also process numerous other application types. These applications are assessed in accordance with a risk-based approach, for example, some requests are categorised as 'self-assessable' and do not usually involve the evaluation of scientific data. Some applications are received because the sponsors are obliged to inform the TGA of new information related to the safety of their products. Other applications involve editorial corrections to the register entry or the associated product information document. The number of such applications is presented below.

In accordance with the legislation, registered goods must comply with numerous standards at the time they are registered and throughout their lifecycle. Following an appropriate application and review of the scientific data and safety considerations, the TGA may grant an 'exemption' from a particular standard for a product. The number of such applications approved and rejected is also included in the following table.

Table 4 Number of other prescription medicine applications
2013-14
Jul-Jun
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Safety related request 734 750 781
Self-assessable request 1,274 1,229 1,404
Minor editorial change to product information 530 553 481
Correction of error 219 163 123
Total 2,757 2,695 2,789
Exemptions to comply with a standard
Approved 80[a] 88
Rejected 0[a] 0
Total 80[a] 88

[a] Data collection commenced January 2015.

1.4. Orphan drug designations

'Orphan drugs' are often developed to treat small and very specific patient populations who suffer from rare diseases and conditions. The application and evaluation fees for orphan drugs can be waived to help reduce their development costs and facilitate their access to the Australian marketplace. A medicine needs to be designated by the TGA as an orphan drug before an application can be accepted to register it on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). The designation process involves a review of whether the drug meets the established criteria which are underpinned by legislation.

The quality, efficacy and safety of orphan drugs are assessed at the same standard as for other registered prescription medicines.

Table 5 Number of orphan drug designations
2013-14
Jul-Jun
2014-15
Jul–Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Number of designations 21 20 22

2. Over-the-Counter medicines

28 September 2016

Over-the-Counter (OTC) medicine applications are categorised as new medicine (N) or change (C) applications and are further categorised by risk (N1 and C1 are low risk, N5 and C4 are highest risk). The OTC application categorisation framework outlined below defines the different OTC medicine application levels and the key application criteria.

Table 6 Categorisation of OTC medicine applications
Application category Definition
N1 An application submitted as a 'Clone'.
N2 An application which complies with an OTC medicine monograph.
N3 New application for a 'generic' medicine other than those 'generic' applications in levels N1, N2 or N4.
N4

An application for a 'generic' medicine where the medicine:

  • requires supporting safety and/or efficacy (clinical/toxicological) data or a justification for not providing such data; and/or
  • requires a higher level of assessment due to the umbrella branding segment of the product name; and/or
  • has not been previously registered as an OTC medicine following down-scheduling.
N5 An application for a new product that is an extension to a 'generic category' product or an application for a product containing a new chemical entity as an active ingredient.
C1 Quality and non-quality changes classified as 'negligible risk'.
C2 Quality and non-quality changes classified as 'low risk' - no safety and/or efficacy data required; quality data may be required.
C3

Quality and non-quality changes classified as 'low risk' - safety and/or efficacy data required unless justified; quality data may be required.

Umbrella branding segment of new name requires a higher level of assessment.

C4 Non-quality changes classified as 'moderate risk' - safety and/or efficacy data required unless justified.

2.1. Approval times

Approval time is defined as the number of working days from the acceptance of the application until formal notification of decision. Approval time excludes time where we were unable to progress the application until the sponsor provided additional information unless otherwise specified.

We aim to have 80% of applications completed within target timeframes. Target timeframes for processing of applications are a result of new OTC pre-market business processes and are subject to ongoing review.

Table 7 Median approval time for OTC medicine applications
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
New medicine applications (days)
N1 29 14
N2 26 26
N3 43 90
N4 119 89
N5 137 151
Change applications (days)
C1 7 5
C2 11 8
C3 51 31
C4 44 110
Table 8 OTC medicine approval time against target time by application category for July 2015 to June 2016
Application type Number completed Range Mean Median Target time (days) % within target
New medicines
N1 79 1-37 14 14 45 100
N2 3 25-41 31 26 55[a] 100
N3 25 30-145 76 90 150 100
N4 50 10-158 88 89 170 100
N5 6 40-278 143 151 210 83
Change applications
C1 618 0-53 6 5 20 97
C2 309 0-74 18 8 64 99
C3 4 19-69 37 31 120 100
C4 12 60-122 100 110 170 100

[a] Target time for N2 applications was reduced from 75 to 55 days commencing 1 November 2015.

Table 9 Percentage of OTC medicine applications processed within target time
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
New medicine applications (%)
N1 96 100
N2 100 100
N3 100 100
N4 100 100
N5 100 83[a]
Change applications (%)
C1 93 97
C2 99 99
C3 80 100
C4 100 100

[a] Of the six N5 applications completed in the 2015-16 period, one was not completed within the target timeframe. This application required referral to the Advisory Committee on Non-prescription Medicines (ACNM), which typically extends the evaluation process by 3-6 months.

2.2. Applications

2.2.1. New OTC medicine applications

Table 10 Applications received for new OTC medicines and changes to existing medicines
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
New medicine applications
N1 144 75
N2 9 13
N3 49 30
N4 58 45
N5 14 14
Total 274 177
Change applications
C1 545 632
C2 261 312
C3 4 8
C4 17 1
Total 827 953

2.2.2. Completed applications

Table 11 New OTC medicine applications completed and outcomes
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
N1
Approved 162 79
Rejected 0 0
Withdrawn by sponsor 9 0
Returned/failed screening 1 1
Total 172 80
N2
Approved 9 3
Rejected 0 0
Withdrawn by sponsor 0 0
Returned/failed screening 0 5
Total 9 8
N3
Approved 27 25
Rejected 0 0
Withdrawn by sponsor 1 7
Returned/failed screening 9 7
Total 37 39
N4
Approved 56 50
Rejected 0 0
Withdrawn by sponsor 6 0
Returned/failed screening 11 5
Total 73 55
N5
Approved 15 6
Rejected 0 0
Withdrawn by sponsor 0 1
Returned/failed screening 9 5
Total 24 12
Table 12 OTC change applications completed and outcomes
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
C1
Approved 522 618
Rejected 0 0
Withdrawn by sponsor 7 15
Returned/failed screening 0 0
Total 529 633
C2
Approved 255 309
Rejected 0 0
Withdrawn by sponsor 10 3
Returned/failed screening 5 0
Total 270 312
C3
Approved 5 4
Rejected 0 0
Withdrawn by sponsor 0 0
Returned/failed screening 0 0
Total 5 4
C4
Approved 5 12
Rejected 0 0
Withdrawn by sponsor 0 0
Returned/failed screening 0 0
Total 5 12

3. Complementary medicines

28 September 2016

3.1. Registered complementary medicines

Registered complementary medicines are considered to be of relatively higher risk than listed medicines based on their ingredients or the indications for the medicine. These medicines are fully evaluated by the TGA for quality, safety and efficacy prior to being accepted on the ARTG.

Table 13 Registered complementary medicine applications by outcome
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
New medicines
Approved 4 2
Rejected 1 0
Withdrawn 0 1
Returned/failed screening 0 0
Total new applications completed 5 3
Variations
Approved 28 27
Rejected 1 0
Withdrawn 1 3
Returned/failed screening 0 0
Total variations completed 30 30
Application for consent to import, supply or export goods under section 14/14A of the Act[a]
Approved 0[b] 1
Rejected 0[b] 0
Total applications completed 0[b] 1
  • [a] Applications can be made for consent to import, supply or export goods under section 14/14A of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.
  • [b] Data collection commenced January 2015.

3.2. New ingredients permitted for use in listed medicines

Table 14 New listed medicine ingredient applications by outcome
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Approved 5 18[a]
Rejected 1 0
Withdrawn 0 0
Returned/failed screening 0 2
Total completed 6 20

[a] This includes 10 ingredients that were permitted as per the Therapeutic Goods (Listing) Notice 2015 (No. 4) following TGA initiated assessments.

3.3. Listed medicines

Table 15 New listed medicines
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
New listed medicines 1,879 1,644
Table 16 Listed medicine variations under section 9D of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Approved 56[a] 102
Rejected 3[a] 16
Total 59[a] 118

[a] Data collection commenced January 2015.

Section 9D of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 provides for variations to be made to an entry on the ARTG in a set of limited and prescribed circumstances. These circumstances include where information included on the ARTG is incomplete or incorrect.

Table 17 Listed medicine applications under section 14/14A of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989
2014-15
Jul–Jun
2015-16
Jul–Jun
Exemption granted 2[a] 7
Rejected 1[a] 4
Total 3[a] 11

[a] Data collection commenced January 2015.

Sponsors can apply for certain exemptions under Section 14 of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. Applications seek consent to import, export or supply a complementary medicine that does not comply with the applicable standards.

3.4. Listed medicine reviews

3.4.1. Investigations

Investigations include complaints and referrals from internal and external stakeholders and screening of recently listed medicines on the ARTG, but can also include products not listed on the ARTG. All investigations are assessed and triaged based on a risk management approach to provide the greatest overall benefit for the Australian public. Investigations may be completed through a number of mechanisms, such as initiating a targeted review or referral to another area of the TGA.

Table 18 Listed medicine investigations undertaken and outcomes
2014-15
Jul–Jun
2015-16
Jul–Jun
Initiated investigations 86 114
Completed investigations
Medicines prioritised for targeted review 24[a] 69
Referred to another TGA area or government organisation 5[a] 14
No further action taken 24[a] 32
Total completed investigations 99[a] 115

[a] Data collection against categories commenced January 2015. There were a total of 46 completed investigations for the period Jul-Dec 2014.

The outcome 'no further action taken' includes examples where the investigation was resolved by other means such as the product has been or is currently under review; the complaint was not justified and did not warrant further action; or advice was provided to the complainant.

3.4.2. Compliance reviews

Listed medicines are not evaluated by the TGA before they are included on the ARTG. However, a proportion is reviewed to check their compliance against relevant regulatory requirements. Compliance reviews may only review selected listing requirements.

Medicines may be randomly selected or targeted for a review. Medicines are randomly selected for review by a computer, based on a mathematical model. Targeted reviews can originate from a number of signals and are initiated following an investigation.

A compliance review will result in one of the following outcomes:

  • no compliance breaches are identified, the review is concluded and the medicine remains on the ARTG
  • compliance breaches are identified for the selected listing requirements
  • the review is not completed as the sponsor has cancelled the medicine
  • the review is closed due to the unavailability of information in determining its compliance status.
Table 19 Listed medicine reviews by type
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Initiated reviews
Targeted reviews 41 173
Random reviews 89 340
Total 130 513
Reviews on hand 188 151
Completed reviews
Targeted reviews 156 158
Random reviews 56 315
Total 212 473
Table 20 Completed listed medicine reviews by outcome
2014-15
Jul–Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Compliance status determined
Medicines with no compliance breaches 43 81
Medicines with verified compliance breaches 118 327
Sub-total 161 408
Compliance status unable to be determined
Medicines cancelled by sponsors after request for information 31 43
Medicines not yet manufactured 18 19
Other 2 1
Sub-total 51 63
Product not a therapeutic good 0 2
Total completed 212 473

Figure 4 Outcomes of compliance reviews by reason for initiation

Outcomes of compliance reviews by reason for initiation

In this period, we have more than doubled the number of compliance reviews completed compared to the previous period. We have also performed a higher proportion of random reviews to better inform our targeted compliance program. Of the reviews where we were able to determine a compliance status, 80% had verified compliance breaches, which is a higher rate of non-compliance than the previous period (73%).

Table 21 Types of listed medicine compliance issues identified

Of the completed compliance reviews, the following are the types of issues identified in those medicines where a compliance breach was verified. Individual medicines may have multiple issues.

Table 21 Types of listed medicine compliance issues identified
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Information provided in ARTG entry 9 53
Manufacturing, quality and/or formulation 15 63
Labelling and/or advertising 60 215
Evidence 42 210
Safety 0 13
Other 44 8

Figure 5 Types of compliance issues identified by reason for initiation

Types of compliance issues identified by reason for initiation

Figure 2 shows the types of compliance issues that are identified through reviews which are either randomly selected or targeted for a particular issue.

'Other' compliance issues may include the sponsor failing to comply with a condition that the medicine is subject to or not responding to a formal request for information.

For both random and targeted reviews, the most common compliance issues have consistently been labelling/ advertising and evidence issues. In this period, evidence and labelling/advertising issues were comparable for targeted reviews, whereas last period there were a significantly higher proportion of labelling/advertising issues. This is likely the result of a number of targeted compliance projects that we have undertaken during this period that focussed on evidence issues identified during our random review program.

Table 22 Actions taken following listed medicine reviews
Actions following a Request for Information
Medicines found to be compliant and review concluded 81
Medicines cancelled by the TGA without a proposal to cancel notice 0
Proposal to cancel notice sent by the TGA 327
Total 408
Actions following Proposal to Cancel notice
Medicines cancelled by the TGA 44
Medicines cancelled by sponsors after being notified of compliance breaches 76
Reviews concluded after compliance breaches were addressed 207
Sub-total 327

The figures provided under 'Actions following Proposal to Cancel notice' are a sub-set of the figure provided under 'Actions following a Request for Information'.

Figure 6 Outcomes of completed compliance reviews

Outcomes of completed compliance reviews

Figure 3 shows that a significant proportion of listed medicine reviews are concluded after the sponsor has adequately addressed the compliance breaches identified by us. Under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 sponsors are given an opportunity to respond to issues raised during a compliance review. This high proportion also shows that industry is willing to work with us to ensure the supply of listed medicines on the ARTG is compliant.

4. Biologicals

28 September 2016

The Australian Regulatory Guidelines for Biologicals define the different Biological classes.

4.1. Inclusion of biologicals

Table 23 Applications for biologicals received and on hand
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Applications received
Technical Master File (TMF) new 0 2
TMF annual updates 8 6
TMF variations 7 9
TMF notifications 8 7
Plasma Master File annual updates 16 15
Biological Class 2 - new applications 1 2
Biological Class 3 - new applications 0 2
Biological Class 2 - variations 5 26
Biological Class 3 - variations 2 2
Total received 47 71
Applications on hand
TMF new 3 2
TMF annual updates 6 4
TMF variations 0 2
TMF notifications 2 0
Plasma Master File annual updates 15 3
Biological Class 2 - new applications 5 3
Biological Class 3 - new applications 2 4
Biological Class 2 - variations 1 7
Biological Class 3 - variations 5 1
Total on hand 39 26
Table 24 Completed applications for Biologicals
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Technical Master File (TMF) new 1 2
TMF annual updates 4 5
TMF variations 6 7
TMF notifications 5 7
Plasma Master File annual updates 17 14
Biological Class 2 - new applications 15 4
Biological Class 3 - new applications 4 0
Biological Class 2 - variations 1 21
Biological Class 3 - variations 4 5
Total completed 57 65

5. Medicine and vaccine adverse event reports

28 September 2016

5.1. Adverse medicine and vaccine reaction notifications

Table 25 Source of notifications of medicine and vaccine adverse reaction
Reports with clear causality by reporter 2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Hospitals 2,402 2,194
Companies 8,946 8,776
General practitioners 745 644
Specialists 228 221
Pharmacists 1,232 883[a]
Members of the public (consumers) 550 813
Nurses, dentists, complementary healthcare practitioners 224 214
State/Territory Health departments 2,560 2,619
Reports withdrawn, or rejected, or without clear causality 1,770 1,269
Total received 18,657 17,633
Mean number of reports received weekly 359 339
Vaccine reports included in above table 3,259 3,361

[a] Pharmacist reporting classifications changed between the two reporting periods and some non-community pharmacist reports are now included in the other categories.

6. Medical devices

28 September 2016

The regulatory framework for medical devices spans the life cycle for these products, including:

  • Conformity assessment: Is the systematic examination by the manufacturer to determine that a medical device is safe and performs as intended and, therefore, conforms to the Essential Requirements. Certification of the manufacturer's conformity assessment procedure may (and in some cases must) be undertaken by the TGA, or we may recognise conformity assessment certification from European notified bodies.
  • Inclusion on the ARTG: Medical devices cannot be imported, supplied in, or exported from Australia unless they are included on the ARTG (unless a valid exemption applies)[1]. A sponsor can apply to include a medical device on the ARTG if the device complies with the Essential Principles and appropriate conformity assessment procedures have been applied to the device (typically demonstrated through conformity assessment certification).
  • Post-market monitoring: Once a medical device has been included on the ARTG the device must continue to meet all the regulatory, safety and performance requirements and standards that were required for the approval.

6.1. Conformity assessment

6.1.1. Applications

Table 26 Number of conformity assessment applications (medical devices including In-Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs))
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Applications received 193 257
Applications on hand 238 178
Applications completed 208 186

6.1.2. Outcomes

Figure 7 Outcomes of conformity assessment applications

Outcomes of conformity assessment applications

6.1.3. Processing times

The TGA is required to complete conformity assessment applications within 255 working days.

Processing time is defined as the number of working days from the acceptance of the application until formal notification of decision. Under the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990, working days exclude public holidays and weekends. Processing time excludes time where we were unable to progress the application until the sponsor provided additional information unless otherwise specified.

Table 27 Percentage of applications completed within target processing time
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
New devices 100% 100%
Mean TGA processing times (days) 130 133
Median TGA processing times (days) 161 178
Changes or recertification 100% 100%
Mean TGA processing times (days) 84 93
Median TGA processing times (days) 51 71

6.2. Inclusion of medical devices (including IVDs)

6.2.1. Applications

Table 28 Applications for inclusion - medical devices (including IVDs)
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Class 1 medical devices[a]
Applications received 2,503 2,685
Applications completed 2,497 2,690
Class 1 measuring medical devices
Applications received 74 48
Applications completed 74 48
Applications on hand[b] 4 2
Class 1 sterile medical devices
Applications received 249 257
Applications completed 265 253
Applications on hand[b] 7 11
Class IIa medical devices
Applications received 1,284 1,178
Applications completed 1,382 1,206
Applications on hand[b] 85 58
Class IIb medical devices
Applications received 768 654
Applications completed 760 716
Applications on hand[b] 61 40
Class III medical devices
Applications received 425 344
Applications completed 372 249
Applications on hand[b] 260 313
Class III Joint Reclassification medical devices[c]
Applications received 637 0
Applications completed 364 355
Applications on hand[b] 538 294
Active Implantable Medical Devices (AIMD)
Applications received 51 49
Applications completed 46 19
Applications on hand[b] 51 62
Class 1 IVDs[d]
Applications received 156 92
Applications completed 158 112
Applications on hand[b] 7 1
Class 2 IVDs
Applications received 246 104
Applications completed 227 148
Applications on hand[b] 30 10
Class 3 IVDs
Applications received 223 65
Applications completed 183 131
Applications on hand[b] 22 11
Class 4 IVDs
Applications received 57 25
Applications completed 55 29
Applications on hand[b] 0 0
  • [a] Class I medical devices are automatically included (i.e. these applications are complete within 24 hours), there are no applications for this classification of device 'on hand'. Differences in the number received and finalised relate to those applications received on the last day of the reporting period.
  • [b] Applications on hand - figures shown are correct as of the date when the data was extracted. There may also be delays between the date of the decision and the time when the system is updated due to administrative and/or technological processes.
  • [c] The transition period for joint reclassification finished on 30 June 2015. A large number of applications were received at the end of this transition period, late in the January to June 2015 reporting period. As the transition period has now finished Class III joint reclassification applications will be rolled into the general Class III applications in future reports.
  • [d] The number of applications for Class 1 IVD includes auto-included devices and devices selected for audit.

6.2.2. Outcomes

Class I automatically included medical devices are not counted in the outcomes for inclusion applications as these applications cannot be rejected.

Table 29 Outcomes of medical device applications by classification
Number of applications
2014-15 2015-16
Device Classification Approved/Accepted Rejected/Lapsed Withdrawn Approved/Accepted Rejected/Lapsed Withdrawn
Class 1 2,497 0 0 2,690 0 0
Class 1 Measurement 59 2 13 47 0 1
Class 1 Sterile 246 3 12 234 0 19
Class IIa 1,285 11 67 1,132 2 72
Class IIb 701 5 38 679 1 36
Class III 267 41 15 207 12 30
Class III Reclassification 344 1 44 278 7 70
AIMD 27 1 0 17 0 2
Class 1 IVD 148 0 1 112 0 0
Class 2 IVD 204 1 17 136 3 9
Class 3 IVD 144 2 21 123 1 7
Class 4 IVD 53 0 2 28 0 1

6.2.3. Processing times

The agreed target time for level 1 application audits is 30 TGA work days and for level 2 application audits is 60 TGA work days (reflected in 'TGA days'). This does not include the period we are waiting for information or payment of fees (reflected in 'sponsor days').

Table 30 Processing times for medical device application audits (including IVDs)
2014-15 2015-16
Number of applications Sponsor days TGA days[b] Number of applications Sponsor days TGA days[b]
Mean Processing Time
Medical devices
Applications completed without audit 2,183[a]     2,112[a]    
Non-compulsory audit[c] 258 30 49 497 30 43
Level 1 compulsory audit 23 17 15 32 27 26
Level 2 compulsory audit 289 51 111 205 55 161
IVDs
Applications completed without audit 299[a]     148[a]    
IVD non-compulsory audit 10 47 43 17 41 65
IVD compulsory audit 149 25 29 159 26 45
Median Processing Time
Medical devices
Applications completed without audit 2,183[a]     2,112[a]    
Non-compulsory audit[c] 258 23 29 497 21 21
Level 1 compulsory audit 23 16 11 32 23 9
Level 2 compulsory audit 289 36 97 205 49 158
IVDs
Applications completed without audit 299[a]     148[a]    
IVD non-compulsory audit 10 44 23 17 33 58
IVD compulsory audit 149 22 25 159 21 41
  • [a] Auto-included applications for Class I and Class 1 IVD are complete within 24 hours, and not included in the figures above.
  • [b] TGA time starts when the application is selected for audit, and it does not include public holidays and weekends, and the time when we wait for information or payment from the sponsor.
  • [c] Non-compulsory audit - estimate for the audit processing time does not include applications for reclassification of joint replacement medical devices received during transitional period (Class III Joint Reclassification medical devices), and applications supported by European Community (EC) certificates issued by certain notified bodies (for details see Increased application audit requirements for some medical devices applications).

6.3. Post-market monitoring

6.3.1. Automatically included entries

As Class I medical devices are automatically included without review by the TGA, post-market regulatory reviews are undertaken to ensure Class I devices are correctly included. This includes restricted word reviews, where applications for Class I devices are identified by the use of specific words indicative of risk or issues relating to the inclusion of the device, and targeted reviews that are initiated on a case by case basis (targeted reviews are conducted in relation to devices of any Class).

Table 31 Restricted word and targeted Class I medical device reviews
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Restricted word reviews
Reviews completed 7 0
Reviews commenced 4 1
Reviews on hand 0 1
Targeted reviews
Reviews completed 157 104
Reviews commenced 79 83
Reviews on hand 117 164

6.3.2. Post-market reviews

The TGA also undertakes a range of post market reviews for devices above Class I.

Table 32 Medical device targeted reviews
Post market reviews 2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Reviews commenced - number of ARTG entries 98 80
Reviews completed - number of ARTG entries 119 83
Reviews on hand - number of ARTG entries 183 163

6.3.3. Medical device incident reports

Processing time is defined as the number of working days from the receipt of the notification until the incident has been investigated and resolved. Under the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990, working days exclude public holidays and weekends.

The target timeframe for processing of medical device incident reports is 90 working days.

Table 33 Number of medical device incident reports and processing times
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Reports received 3,237 3,841
Reports completed 4,140 3,608
Reports still in progress 324 207
Processing time
Mean TGA processing time (days) N/A 14
Median TGA processing time (days) N/A 1
Percentage processed within target timeframe N/A 100%
Table 34 Medical device incident report outcomes[a]
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Reviewed and used for trend analysis purposes 3,049 2,988
Reviewed, no further action required 1,081 330
Product recall 62 40
Recall for product correction 18 19
Hazard alert 60 25
Product notification 1 1
Safety alert 19 9
Product enhancement/improvement notice 2 0
Instructions for use amended 26 3
Referral for post-market review 75 23
Referral to TGA Office of Manufacturing Quality 1 5
Refer to another TGA Office 55 46
Company warned 2 0
Product suspended from ARTG 0 0
Product cancelled from ARTG 6 4
Manufacturing process improvements 30 10
Quality system process improvements 11 1
Maintenance carried out by the hospital 0 0
Change to design 14 13
Not device related 7 9
Other 163 39

[a] Outcomes are not mutually exclusive.


  1. Exemptions include custom made medical devices, importation of samples, etc.

7. Exports

28 September 2016

Processing time is defined as the number of working days from the acceptance of the application, including payment, until formal notification of decision. Under the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990, working days exclude public holidays and weekends. Processing time excludes time where we were unable to progress the application until the sponsor provided additional information unless otherwise specified.

7.1. Export only medicines

The target timeframe for processing of export only medicine applications and variations is 31 working days.

Table 35 Approval times for export only medicines
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
New applications
Mean TGA processing time (days) 20.5 21
Median TGA processing time (days) 20 20
Percentage processed within target processing time 100% 98%
Variations
Mean TGA processing time (days) 12.5 18
Median TGA processing time (days) 12 16
Percentage processed within target processing time 99% 100%
Table 36 Applications for new and variations to export only medicines
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Applications received 214 241
Applications awaiting response from sponsor 23 20
Applications completed
Approved 100[a] 221
Withdrawn 2[a] 10
Total completed 102[a] 231

[a] Data collection commenced January 2015.

7.2. Export certifications for medicines

The target processing time for applications for an export certificate for a medicine is 15 working days.

Table 37 Export certification applications and processing times
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Applications received 2,190 2,124
Applications completed
Approved 2,179 2,127
Withdrawn 4 18
Total completed 2,183 2,145
Processing times
Mean TGA processing time (days) 12.5 12.1
Median TGA processing time (days) 12 12
Percentage processed within target time[a] 98% 98%

[a] We aim to have 100% of applications processed within the target timeframe.

7.3. Export certification assessment for medical devices

The target processing time for applications for an export certificate for a medical device is 5 working days.

Table 38 Medical device applications and processing times for export certification assessments
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Applications received 580 496
Applications completed
Export certificates issued 582 483
Applications withdrawn 13 3
Total completed 595 486
Processing time
Mean TGA processing time (days) 3 4
Median TGA processing time (days) 3 5
Percentage processed within target time[a] 95% 96%

[a] We aim to have at least 90% of applications processed within the target timeframe.

7.4. Blood permits for export

The TGA issues permits to export human blood and its fractions (products derived from human blood) on receiving written applications from medical professionals, hospitals and bone banks. Most often these professionals or health organisations approach the Australian Red Cross which then applies for the permit on their behalf. Very rarely an individual citizen may also apply with reference to his/her requirement, for example, a patient travelling overseas with Biostate® injections, which is a blood fraction and requires a permit to take it out of Australia.

In addition to issuing individual permits, the TGA also issues annual permits. Applications for these permits are submitted by commercial (pharmaceutical companies) or government organisations (such as the Australian Defence Force). The permits cover one year’s worth of anticipated export supplies for these organisations.

Figure 8 Number of blood permits processed

Number of blood permits processed

8. Access to unapproved therapeutic goods

28 September 2016

8.1. Special access scheme

The Special Access Scheme (SAS) provides for the import and/or supply of an unapproved therapeutic good for a single patient, on a case by case basis. Patients are grouped into two categories under the scheme:

  • Category A: persons who are seriously ill with a condition from which death is reasonably likely to occur within a matter of months, or from which premature death is reasonably likely to occur in the absence of early treatment. In this case prescribers are required to notify the TGA of the use.
  • Category B: all other patients. In this case prescribers are required to apply to the TGA for the use.
Table 39 SAS medicine notifications and applications
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Category A notifications
Total Category A notifications 37,860 38,806
Category B applications
Approved 21,207 19,307
Cancelled 500 312
Rejected 61 51
Pending at end of reporting period 117 443
Total Category B applications 21,885 20,113
Table 40 SAS device notifications and applications
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Category A notifications
Total Category A notifications 3,456 3,922
Approved 2,071 2,081
Cancelled 175 116
Rejected 27 20
Pending at end of reporting period 22 16
Total Category B applications 2,295 2,233
Table 41 SAS biological notifications and applications
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Category A notifications
Total Category A notifications 115 44
Category B applications
Approved 2,442 3,171
Cancelled 0 25
Rejected 1 0
Pending at end of reporting period 22 35
Total Category B applications 2,465 3,231

8.2. Clinical trials

Clinical trial notifications (CTNs) provide access to unapproved therapeutic goods where patients are participating in a clinical trial. Unapproved therapeutic goods can include biologicals, devices or medicines or a combination of any of the three types of goods.

The CTN scheme transitioned from a paper-based submission form to an online submission on 1 July 2015.

The online CTN system is capable of enhanced, automated reporting that provides further granularity and accuracy that was not previously possible with the paper-based system. Where the data collection between the paper-based and the online system are capable of being compared, the comparative data is supplied.

Table 42 Number of notifications for new clinical trials involving unapproved therapeutic goods received by therapeutic good type
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Medicine 506 458
Device 140 155
Biological 8 21
Medicine and device 347 288
Device and biological 1 6
Medicine and biological 0 14
Medicine, device and biological N/A[a] 7
Total 1,002 949

[a] Device includes both medical device and therapeutic device category.

Table 43 Number of phases in new clinical trial notifications involving unapproved therapeutic goods received
Clinical trial type 2015-16
Jul-Jun
Phase 1 205
Phase 2 217
Phase 3 301
Phase 4 146
Bioavailability/equivalence 39
None specified 134

The new, online system is capable of enhanced reporting due to the additional capability of capturing multi-phase trials, which was not previously possible with the paper-based system.

Table 44 Number of notifications for new clinical trials and variations to previously notified clinical trials, including non-fee attracting variations, involving unapproved therapeutic goods received by therapeutic good type
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Medicine 1,090
Device 249
Biological 31
Medicine and device 1,072
Device and biological 20
Medicine and biological 37
Medicine, device and biological 27
Total 2,526

A variation may include any change to a previously notified clinical trial such as an additional site, change to a therapeutic good, or change in principal investigator etc.

Device includes both medical device and therapeutic device category.

The new, online system captures the actual number of notifications received for new clinical trials and requests to change significant details to clinical trials already notified (such as changes in the principal investigator, HREC and site address) which was not previously possible with the paper-based system. Furthermore, the new reporting system does not count variations that are made to a notified CTN that are of an editorial nature (e.g., fixing a typographical error) and counts the number of notifications and not the number of variations made within each notification.

Table 45 Number of phases in new clinical trials and variations to previously notified clinical trials involving unapproved therapeutic goods received
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Phase 1 415
Phase 2 598
Phase 3 1,177
Phase 4 274
Bioavailability/equivalence 46
None specified 217

A variation may include any change to a previously notified clinical trial such as an additional site, change to a therapeutic good, or change in principal investigator.

8.3. Authorised prescribers

The Authorised Prescriber Scheme allows approved medical practitioners authority to prescribe a specified unapproved therapeutic good(s) to patients who are identified by their medical condition. If a medical practitioner becomes an Authorised Prescriber they may prescribe the product to patients in their immediate care, within the indication specified, without seeking further approval from the TGA.

Table 46 Authorised prescriber approvals for medicines and medical devices
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Number of approvals for medicines 680 661
Number of approvals for medical devices 273 238

9. Medicines and biologicals manufacturing

28 September 2016

9.1. Manufacturing licences issued to Australian manufacturers

Table 47 Status of manufacturing licence applications
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
New licences granted 19 15
Withdrawn application 56 11
Revoked licences - at request of licence holder 28 42
Revoked licences - TGA 0 0
Suspended - at request of licence holder 0 3
Suspended - TGA 0 0

As at 30 June 2016, there were 248 Australian companies holding manufacturing licences covering 384 sites.

Table 48 Outcomes of inspections of Australian manufacturers
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Inspections conducted 198 220
Satisfactory compliance (of completed inspections) 92% 81%
Marginal compliance (of completed inspections) 8% 18%
Unacceptable (of completed inspections) 0% 1%
In Progress[a] N/A 15%
Processing time
Initial inspections conducted within 3 months of application 88% 68%
Re-inspections conducted within 6 months of due date 36% 54%

a Previous reports excluded inspections that had been conducted during the reporting period but had not yet been closed out. To ensure we report on all activities conducted by the TGA, the report for the current reporting period has been adjusted.

Applicants sometimes submit applications for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) licences before completing all of their systems and processes, resulting in requests to delay the initial inspection. It is therefore common for initial applications to be conducted later than the target of 3 months.

9.2. Approval (certification) of overseas manufacturers

Table 49 Manufacturing certification application by status
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
New applications received 94 38
Re-inspection applications 152 52
Applications completed
Certified 115 44
Rejected 137 28
Total completed 252 72

As at 30 June 2016, there were 374 overseas manufacturers covering 387 manufacturing sites that are subject to TGA inspection and approximately 2,200 overseas manufacturing sites that rely on evidence from recognised regulators.

Table 50 Outcomes of inspections of overseas manufacturers
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Inspections conducted 133 76[a]
Satisfactory compliance (of completed inspections) 90% 95%
Marginal compliance (of completed inspections) 9% 4%
Unacceptable (of completed inspections) 1% 1%
In Progress[b] N/A 18%
Processing time
Initial certification inspections conducted within 6 months of application 63% 40%
Certification re-inspections conducted within 6 months of due date 59% 75%
  • [a] In 2014-15 we conducted a higher than usual number of overseas inspections to clear a backlog of overdue inspections. We have cleared this backlog so 2015-16 reflects business as usual.
  • [b] Previous reports excluded inspections that had been conducted during the reporting period but had not yet been closed out. To ensure we report on all activities conducted by the TGA, the report for the current reporting period has been adjusted.

Applicants sometimes submit applications for GMP certification before completing all of their systems and processes, resulting in requests to delay the initial inspection. It is therefore common for initial applications to be conducted later than the target of 6 months.

9.3. Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) clearances

GMP clearance is required for all medicines (unless exempt) supplied in Australia. This includes products supplied to sponsors by overseas manufacturers.

Table 51 GMP clearance application status
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Applications received 4,048 5,657
Applications completed
Approved 4,447 5,132
Rejected 315 263
Total completed 4,762 5,395

10. Recalls

28 September 2016

10.1. Medicine recalls

Table 52 Medicine recalls by reason for recall
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Adverse reactions 2 0
Foreign matter 6 5
Illegal supply 0 1
Impurity and degradation 7 6
Labelling and packaging 13 18
Micro-organisms 2 4
pH 2 0
Potency 2 5
Sterility 2 1
Other[a] 9 17
Total 45 57

[a] 'Other' includes dissolution, physical defects, observed differences, variable content, diagnostic inaccuracy and wrong product.

10.2. Medical device recalls

Table 53 Medical device (including IVDs) recalls by reason for recall
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Adverse incidents 4 6
Diagnostic inaccuracy 71 82
Electrical defect 41 49
Illegal supply 1 0
Labelling and packaging 99 119
Mechanical and physical defects 193 173
Software defects 114 135
Sterility 9 3
Other[a] 45 44
Total 577 611

[a] 'Other' includes bioavailability, disintegration/dissolution, microbial contamination, variable content, foreign matter, impurity, wrong product, therapeutic inefficiency and observed differences.

10.3. Biological recalls

Table 54 Biological recalls
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Recalls to hospital level 0 0

11. Laboratory testing

28 September 2016

The Laboratories Branch conducts post-market monitoring and compliance testing, investigations and reviews, as well as market authorisation assessment of therapeutic goods.

The Laboratories Branch identifies and prioritises therapeutic goods for testing to fulfil the regulatory compliance and monitoring requirements of the TGA, and the transparency and accountability requirements of government. The testing program also provides flexibility and capacity to provide testing for investigations into problem reports, complaints and urgent public health concerns.

The Laboratories Branch uses a risk management approach, which is consistent with ISO 31000: Risk Management principals and guidelines, to identify products with a higher risk of not complying with the required quality standards. This risk based, targeted approach to testing is reflected in the failure rates reported in Table 55.

Table 55 Samples and products tested by type of therapeutic good and percentage which failed
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Prescription medicines Total 61 941
% fail 0.7 0.5
OTC medicines Total 42 47
% fail 31.0 19.1
Complementary medicines Total 156 108
% fail 21.2 20.4
Medical devices Total 117 114
% fail 14.5 29.8
Contract[a] Total 83 19
% fail 8.4 36.8
Unregistered[b] Total 277 467
% fail 66.1 76.2
Total samples[c] 1,992 2,202
Total samples (excluding AHQ samples) 1,536 1,696
Percentage fail 16.9% 25.5%
Total number of products tested[d] 756 761
  • [a] Performed on request for overseas regulators or aid agencies and encompasses medicines and medical devices.
  • [b] Unregistered refers to products that meet the definition of therapeutic goods but are not included on the ARTG or otherwise specifically exempted from this requirement in the legislation. This often includes adulterated complementary medicines or counterfeit products.
  • [c] Includes accreditation, harmonisation and quality control (AHQ) samples.
  • [d] The TGA may test a number of samples of each product per reporting period.
Table 56 Samples that failed laboratory testing by reason for July 2015 to June 2016
Medical devices OTC medicines Prescription medicines Unregistered products Complementary medicines Total
Contamination 5 0 0 0 2 7
Formulation 6 3 4 346 15 374
Label and packaging deficiencies 11 6 0 0 4 21
Performance 6 0 0 0 1 7
Physical or mechanical properties 6 0 1 0 0 7
Unregistered 0 0 0 10 0 10
Total 34 9 5 356 22 426
Table 57 Batch release and export certification
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Batch release[a] 394 401
Export certification[b] 14 59
  • [a] Evaluation of batch release documentation for vaccines, biotechnology and blood products.
  • [b] Certification of biological products being exported from Australian manufacturers to overseas markets.

The Laboratories Branch provides World Health Organization-approved certificates for batches of biological products to be exported by Australian manufacturers to overseas markets. The number of certificates provided by the Laboratories Branch therefore depends on the number of requests received.

Table 58 Target timeframes in working days for laboratory testing by priority and testing type
Priority of testing Biochemical / chemical testing Microbiological testing Medical device testing
Urgent 20 (95% of target times to be met) 40 (95% of target times to be met) 20 (95% of target times to be met)
Priority 40 (80% of target times to be met) 50 (80% of target times to be met) 40 (80% of target times to be met)
Routine 50 50 50

Testing on products linked to potential public safety concerns are assigned to the 'Urgent' testing category. Urgent testing may impact on the timeframes for priority and routing testing.

Priority is given to testing of products with the highest risk of a quality deficiency.

Compliance against these timeframes is outlined in Table 59.

Table 59 Compliance with testing timeframes for July 2015 to June 2016
Priority Total Percentage
Medical devices Routine 83 71%
Priority 26 96%
Urgent 5 100%
OTC medicines Routine 32 38%
Priority 10 100%
Urgent 5 100%
Prescription medicines Routine 170 65%
Priority 13 46%
Urgent 8 100%
Complementary medicines Routine 88 72%
Priority 19 100%
Urgent 1 100%
Unregistered products Routine 82 1%
Priority 375 86%
Urgent 7 100%

Low numbers of samples within categories may affect compliance percentages.

Samples involving complex biological assays are excluded from the target turnaround timeframes.

12. Regulatory compliance

28 September 2016

Using signals from numerous sources as intelligence, the TGA Regulatory Investigations and Enforcement Unit conducts compliance and enforcement activities against a risk based compliance framework. Using principles of responsive regulation, a range of tools are utilised including encouragement and guidance to comply, restrictions or warnings, suspensions or sanctions and cancellations. At the apex, activities including investigations into illegal import or manufacture of unapproved and counterfeit therapeutic goods can result in criminal or civil court action. All compliance activities have the intended purpose of protecting public health.

Table 60 Regulatory compliance investigations by final action taken
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Investigation in progress 241 361
Completed investigations
Warned 689 946
No offence detected 141 185
Goods released under Personal Import Scheme 74 519
Referred to another agency or department outside Health 9 28
Referred to another branch within the TGA 4 10
Filed for intelligence purposes 0 55
Finalised in a linked file 0 11
Import treated as abandoned goods by Customs 0 3
Recall of goods 0 2
Matters referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions 1 1
Total completed 918 1,760
Table 61 Types of products investigated[a]
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Complementary medicines 486 463
Prescription medicines 860 1,802
Medical devices 156 98
Homoeopathic medicines 4 4
OTC medicines 86 45
Biological products 30 48
Other 31 66
Total 1,653 2,526

[a] Regulatory compliance investigations may include more than one type of product.

Table 62 Regulatory compliance investigations by special interest categories
2014-15
Jul-Jun
2015-16
Jul-Jun
Unapproved product 1,404 2,110
Counterfeit product 232 320
Parallel import/export 1 9
Manufacture without licence 0 1
Advertising offence 3 17
Traditional Chinese medicines 1 7
Other[a] 4 7
Total 1,645 2,471

[a] Products that fall outside the remit of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989, for example food products.

Table 63 Investigations by complainant type and state/territory for July 2015 to June 2016
Origin ACT NSW NT QLD SA VIC WA Other[a] Total
Complaints resolution 0 11 0 1 0 1 0 1 14
Customs 0 943 9 90 5 339 95 2 1,483
External agency 3 3 0 9 1 0 0 5 21
General public 1 29 0 5 1 10 1 83 130
Patient/practitioner 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 4
Sponsor/client 0 12 0 0 0 9 0 8 29
TGA internal 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 21
Total 25 998 9 107 8 359 96 100 1,702

[a] Other includes investigations of reports from Tasmania and anonymous (unknown) origin.

Version history

28 September 2016
Version Description of change Author Effective date
V1.0 Original publication Reporting and Collaboration Services September 2016