Following these posts, Croakey has heard that:
• There are frustrations on both sides of the relationship between the media and the TGA. The media often make unrealistic demands, asking for rapid turnaround on information that can require substantial time and resources to compile. TGA staff face heavy workloads, which have increased without commensurate increases in budget or resources – and with no dedicated media resources in-house, every media request is an overhead. The TGA regulates a similar number of products to the FDA but with a fraction of the resources.
• Although often represented as a separate agency, the TGA remains a division of the Federal Department of Health and Ageing. The Department’s Secretary Jane Halton, has ultimate say over the governance of the TGA. Recommendations from the Pearce Review – to improve TGA’s transparency in its dealings with the media and the public – will need to be sanctioned by the DOHA leadership. Many of those working in the TGA would like to be more open, accountable and transparent but feel constrained by the current leadership and governance arrangements.
• Would the goals of greater transparency and accountability be better served by the TGA becoming a statutory authority….?
The recent suggestion for a roundtable to bring together TGA, and media/Gov 2.0 types might be a useful step towards developing some more constructive ways forward. This recommendation was from a Croakey-led submission to the Pearce Review:
The TGA should convene a roundtable meeting to bring together TGA officials, Govt 2 and social media innovators, journalists, journalism academics, experts in the quality use of medicines, and others with an interest in public interest disclosure to canvass possibilities for innovation.
Presumably, there might be some resistance to this suggestion.
But more of the same (frustration on all sides) is not a good or useful look…