The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.

Letter to the Editor

Editor, – Thank you for publishing the article (Aust Prescr 2007;30:122-4) about some of the concerns surrounding access to and distribution of Consumer Medicine Information (CMI). It has become obvious that many patients are not being offered or receiving any information about the drugs they take, which is unacceptable and unsafe.

We agree that there is a need to increase the provision of CMIs so that health consumers can be properly informed about the drugs they are taking. However, there are a number of other issues identified by health consumer groups which we would like to highlight.

Health consumer groups, including the two which I chair, have approached all relevant stakeholders with the following three-pronged proposal:

  1. provision of a central repository for all CMIs for prescribed drugs
  2. review of payments to pharmacists for providing CMIs
  3. encouragement of pharmaceutical companies to provide printed CMIs with their product.

We are delighted that the TGA has agreed to become the central repository for CMIs, although disappointed that to date consumers do not appear to have been invited to assist in its establishment.

Some pharmaceutical companies have continued to provide package inserts with their product, and some have agreed to restore these. The problem of pharmacists receiving funding to provide CMIs at point of sale and not doing so, remains unaddressed.

We look forward to further productive discussion on how to make a good system work better, for prescribers and for consumers.

Sally Crossing
Chair, Cancer Voices NSW Inc
Greenwich, NSW