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Response to Media Reports on Pregnancy Test Kits

You may be aware of the recent TGA investigation into pregnancy tests after reports of pregnant women receiving “not pregnant” results from self test pregnancy kits.

We appreciate the significance of the test result and there are many decisions a woman may make if she discovers she is pregnant including the cessation of;

• Prescription drugs that have been identified as not suitable during pregnancy
• Illicit drugs
• Smoking and alcohol

There are also a number of positive steps a woman can take toward diet and/or vitamins & supplements if she became aware of being pregnant.

You may also be aware that a number of manufacturers withdrew products rather than have them tested by the TGA and a number that were tested were subsequently recalled.

The media has unfortunately picked up the point however their communicated message has been “if you think you’re pregnant, go and see your doctor. No test is more accurate than your doctor”.

7 News

The concern for us in these reports is that approximately $18M of pregnancy test kits are sold in pharmacies each year in Australia and we believe pharmacies are an ideal first port of call for a woman who wishes to test if she is pregnant.

We believe that Pharmacists and their staff are an accessible group of people who are adequately educated to have these discussions with women falling pregnant and while we do not disagree that a follow up with a doctor is appropriate, we retain our position that pharmacy is an appropriate first port of call.

We add to this that as an example, the Forelife brand of products, provide specifically the same test in their retail pharmacy pack as provide to doctors through their medical business. You will see from the attached TGA report, the product was tested to be accurate at 10mIU/ml HCG – a level of HCG reached shortly after conception. Please be aware that while Forelife provide these tests to retail pharmacy, they do not make their tests available in grocery stores.

While our interest is in ensuring consumers feel confident in coming to pharmacy to ascertain if they are pregnant at first instance, we openly declare we represent the Forelife brand in pharmacies in Australia.

Concerned around miscommunication, we conducted mystery shopping this week in a number of pharmacies and posing as a consumer, asked the question, “are any of these products affected by the recall I saw on TV?”. The results showed there was a lack of awareness of the issue and a lack of confidence in then recommending a product. As an industry, we need to ensure pharmacy staff have removed all recalled and withdrawn products and are confident in recommending stocked products to consumers. Specifically the TGA has stated “All devices remaining on the market in Australia have been shown to work reliably and accurately.” Can I please ask you to remind your staff to review shelves and remove recalled and withdrawn products.

If you should have any questions, please don’t hesitate in contacting your Pharmabroker PBC representative who can provide further information. Please also contact us if you would like to be included in this year’s Australian Government “Quit for You, Quit for 2” campaign.

We take the time to remind you that no Forelife products have been recalled or otherwise affected.

Yours sincerely

Geoff Lovell
General Manager

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