Quality Use of Medicines (QUM)

This section contains information on the Quality Use of Medicines and related programs.

Page last updated: 15 September 2011

What is Quality Use of Medicines?

Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) is one of the central objectives of Australia’s National Medicines Policy.

QUM means:

  • Selecting management options wisely;
  • Choosing suitable medicines if a medicine is considered necessary; and
  • Using medicines safely and effectively.
The definition of QUM applies equally to decisions about medicine use by individuals and decisions that affect the health of the population.

The term ‘medicine’ includes prescription, non-prescription and complementary medicines.

Quality Use of Medicines in Australia

Australia’s National Strategy for Quality Use of Medicines outlines the principles, partners, building blocks and approach for achieving QUM in Australia. The Executive Summary brochure together with the National Strategy are intended to assist the QUM partners in becoming more aware of the QUM policy framework and approach, and enable them to integrate their own activities with the Strategy.

The goal of the National Strategy for QUM is to make the best possible use of medicines to improve health outcomes for all Australians.

This recognises that many people maintain their health without using medicines, while for others, medicines play an important role in maintaining health, preventing illness and curing disease.
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How QUM can be applied

The following is an example of how QUM can be applied:
At an individual consumer level, the application of QUM to the management of medical conditions assists in the identification and implementation of:
  • Methods to select and communicate the most appropriate medicine or non medicine option from all available prevention and treatment options, so that the individual gains optimal, cost effective health outcomes; and
  • Methods to monitor the outcome of the selected treatment option, to allow rapid modification according to response, so that optimal health outcomes are maintained over time.

At a community level, the National Strategy for QUM provides a guide to the development of these methods by outlining evidence-based steps that:
  • Facilitate the development of processes and resources that allow the identification, selection and effective implementation of both non-medicine or medicine prevention or treatment options, which best meet the individual needs and management objectives of the consumer, health care professional and community;
  • Can be used to develop educational and information materials to support health care professionals and consumers in the selection and use of medicines according to appropriate individual needs and management goals; and
  • Can be used to construct an evaluation framework, which allows the continued monitoring of the selected treatment option against health goals, and processes to reassess choice according to these outcomes.”

Consumer Medicine Information (CMI)

Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) is designed to inform consumers about prescription and pharmacist-only medicines. CMI leaflets are produced by the pharmaceutical company that makes the particular medicine and they are available from different sources, such as within the medicine package, supplied by the pharmacist as a leaflet or provided by the doctor.