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Market research: stage one - qualitative research report
Informing TGA education and communication activities
Across the stakeholder groups, participants demonstrated at least a partial, if not complete, lack of knowledge about:
- the TGA's role and function (what it does and doesn't cover) including its history, how it came about, and its remit and powers
- the approval processes, including timelines and evidence-based data to demonstrate and explain the TGA's decision-making processes and how it regulates medicines and devices. In other words, the how and why, including an understanding of Australian requirements compared to other countries, given that many companies have already paid to have their goods approved overseas
- how the TGA is funded and the implications in terms of transparency and accountability, particularly because industry fees fund the TGA
- whether the TGA answers questions from the public (and even from health professionals) and whether they provide a channel to report adverse events or to enquire about medicines and devices.
Suggestions from participants on how to bridge these gaps included:
- supplying information on who works at the TGA and their credentials, roles and responsibilities
- providing education for the general public about the TGA and where to go if they have questions or concerns about products, including what they can discuss, who and how to contact, and what reporting channels are available
- increasing information to respond to media reports and clarify the grey areas of the TGA's role, with the TGA providing information first hand rather than consumers hearing third hand commentary by the media.
Specific information needs by each segment are discussed further in this report.