Dr Ken Harvey awarded the 2016 ANZAAS Medal

Long term member and foundation director of Therapeutic Guidelines, Dr Ken Harvey has been awarded the 2016 Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS) Medal.

The ANZAAS Medal is awarded annually for services for the advancement of science or administration and organisation of scientific activities, or the teaching of science throughout Australia and New Zealand and in contributions to science which lie beyond normal professional activities. Previous winners of the medal include Sir Gus Nossal, Sir Mark Oliphant and Harry Messel.

Dr Harvey, Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, is one of Australia’s leading campaigners for evidence based medicine with many public campaigns against unethical medical and pharmaceutical promotions to his name.

Dr Harvey was a member of the expert group that drafted the World Health Organisation “Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion” and the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Health and Rational Use of Medicines (PHARM) Committee that formulated the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) pillar of Australian medicines policy.

During his acceptance speech, Dr Harvey explained “My interest in unethical promotion started in the 1970’s when I was trying to contain hospital-acquired antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. I advocated the use of older, narrow-spectrum, more cost-effective antibiotics. The response of many pharmaceutical companies was, ‘You can’t afford to be wrong, use our latest, broadest-spectrum and most expensive antibiotics!’

“This started a life-long interest in countering the inappropriate promotion of therapeutic goods and services.” Dr Harvey said. “Antibiotic guidelines and audits progressed to counter-advertising using the well-proven techniques of the pharmaceutical industry; succinct messages and catchy imagery.  Antibiotic use slowly improved. Antibiotic Guidelines have now reached their 15th Edition and, following concerted lobbying of government, the National Prescribing Service was funded to take up drug audits and targeted education.”

The Medal was presented by Dr Malcolm Jenkins, Chair of ANZAAS on August 17, as part of National Science Week.

TGL congratulates Dr Harvey on this award. Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sue Phillips said “We are delighted that Dr Harvey has been awarded the ANZAAS Medal, this is well deserved recognition fo a lifelong commitment to the quality use of medicines. Dr Harvey has been a member and supporter of Therapeutic Guidelines since its foundation. His tireless advocacy for the ethical promotion of medicines has made an enormous contribution to public health in Australia.”


Dr Ken Harvey

23 August 2016.