National Medicines Policy

Australia's National Medicines Policy is a cooperative endeavour to bring about better health outcomes for all Australians, focusing especially on people’s access to, and wise use of, medicines. The term “medicine” includes prescription and non-prescription medicines, including complementary healthcare products.

Page last updated: 08 September 2011

What is it?

The National Medicines Policy (NMP) is a well established endorsed framework based on partnerships, which was launched in December 1999. Governments - Commonwealth, States and Territories - health educators, health practitioners, and other healthcare providers and suppliers, the medicines industry, healthcare consumers, and the media work together to promote the objectives of the policy.

How did it come about?

In 1985, the World Health Organisation called a Conference of Experts on the Rational Use of Drugs, which resulted in a document known as the 'Revised Drug Strategy'. The 39th World Health Assembly, held in 1986, adopted this strategy, which calls on governments to implement a National Medicinal Drug Policy. Australia, as a participant at this assembly, contributed to the development of this strategy. The need for a National Medicinal Drug Policy was further illustrated in the 'Health for All Australians' document issued jointly by all Australian Health Ministers in 1988.

In 1991 the Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council (APAC) was formed. APAC represented an opportunity for all interested parties to contribute positively on a multi-lateral and consensus basis to the development and conduct of this policy.

Policies were developed and implemented over several years, with a further major review during 1999. In late 1999 the revised policy was launched with whole-of-government support.

What does it aim to do?

The National Medicines Policy aims to improve positive health outcomes for all Australians through their access to and wise use of medicines.

How does it do that?

The National Medicines Policy has four central objectives based on active and respectful partnerships, taking into account elements of social and economic policy.

Learn more about The National Medicines Policy objectives or read the full version of the National Medicines Policy.