Susan F. Hurley, John J. McNeil, Con G. Berbatis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Information about the use of drugs by the population can be used to monitor the prescribing patterns, safety and costs of drugs. Major deficiencies exist in the routine sources of Australian pharmacoepidemiology data and in data collection. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), Intercontinental Medical Statistics (IMS) and the Australian Health Survey are the main sources of data, but all are severely limited. At present there is no adequate means of determining what proportion of the Australian community is receiving treatment with a particular drug. The morbidity and prescribing data collected by IMS are not freely available and relate only to prescribing by general practitioners. A comprehensive source of data on drug use in hospitals does not exist because hospital statistics are not merged. Currently, there is no uniform drug coding system and hospital and community drug usage data cannot be easily combined. The quality of Australian pharmacoepidemiology data could be improved by making declaration of sales figures by pharmaceutical companies mandatory, adopting a uniform drug coding system, and establishing an ongoing, comprehensive morbidity and prescribing survey. 1988 Public Health Association of Australia

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-96
Number of pages15
JournalCommunity Health Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes

Cite this