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Review of pharmaceutical recalls ordered

BY JOHN HARTEVELT
Last updated 12:08 03/06/2010

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The Government has ordered an immediate review of pharmaceutical recalls after a string of medicines were called back.

Health Minister Tony Ryall today announced the review, which should be finished within a month.

"There have been a number of recalls of medicines from pharmacists' shelves recently," Mr Ryall said.

"Pharmacists have asked whether the processes, contracting and compensation arrangements for medicine recalls are adequate. I believe the issue could benefit from closer scrutiny."

The review will look at processes, procedures and contracting arrangements for pharmacies in medicine recalls, and assess whether pharmacists are being appropriately compensated for the expense.

There has been a series of medicines recalls in recent months. The recalls have been for issues including oversized and undersized tablets and inhalers delivering a decreased dose of medicine.

Some pharmacists have voiced concern about the level of funding they get to carry out the recalls. One pharmacist has even filed legal action in an effort to recover costs. The pharmacists say the cost of recalls far exceeds the compensation provided through the District Health Board contract.

Mr Ryall today said the Director General of Health would report back to the Government on the review within a month.

An external advisor would be appointed to help with the review.

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