• Many hospitals in Australia offer a Medicines Information service, usually for the purposes of supporting hospital staff and patients. Some MI services offer assistance to external health professionals and consumers. 

    Pharmaceutical companies usually provide a service for enquiries about their products, as this helps them to fulfill their legal pharmacovigilance and reporting obligations, however the scope of enquiries that they are able to accept may be limited. 

    A contact list of MI services in Australia is available on the SHPA website.

    • The main role of a Medicines Information service or Medicines Information pharmacist is to respond to medicine-related enquiries. Medicines Information (MI) pharmacists have the skills to gather and appraise information to respond appropriately to enquirer’s questions. Information provided must be reliable, accurate, up to date and based on the best possible evidence. Medicines information practice requires excellent critical thinking skills and contributes to clinical problem solving for clinicians and patients.

      Most enquiries to MI services come from pharmacists, doctors, nurses, dentists and other health professionals, but may also include police, journalists, lawyers, authors, librarians, patients and carers. It is essential to understand what your service can provide in case you need to refer an enquiry/enquirer to another service.

      MI services keep documentation of their enquiries in a database. These databases form an invaluable source of information for future enquiries and are essential for legal reasons.

      MI services may also provide, participate in or assist with:

      • Adverse drug reaction reporting (pharmacovigilance)
      • Clinical trials/ethics committees
      • Drugs and Therapeutics Committees (or equivalent)
      • Electronic decision support, clinical informatics
      • Formulary management
      • Medication-related audits
      • Medication safety
      • Partnerships with local and national organisations or committees
      • Therapeutic drug monitoring
      • Education and training
      • Medico-legal
      • Publications and reviews
      • Research
      • Support for other services or healthcare professionals.

      MI services conduct quality assurance programs to provide systematic ongoing review of the work of the service with the aim of improving the standards. More information about the work of MI services including quality assurance can be found in Chapter 10 of SHPA’s Medicines Information Procedure Manual.

      CopyrightCommon types of enquiries