Speech - National Medicines Symposium
View by date:Previous Ministers
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre24 May 2012
I am very pleased to be here tonight for the symposium dinner and to help present the National Medicines Awards on behalf of the Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek.
Australia has taken a lead in quality use of medicines.
Our National Medicines Policy is about improving people’s access to medicines, encouraging innovation and securing a sustainable pharmaceutical benefits scheme.
It is also about the Quality Use of Medicines which applies to prescription, non-prescription and complementary medicines.
For nearly 15 years, our hosts tonight, NPS have been promoting Quality Use of Medicines in Australia.
Quality Use of Medicines leads to patients benefiting from safer and improved use of medicines, and the country avoiding unnecessary spending.
This is an important goal.
We must do what we can to ensure that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) funds are spent as wisely as possible.
The PBS costs more than $9 billion a year and accounts for around 14 per cent of the total Health Budget.
It has also been a very fast growing area of health spending – growing 5.7 per cent last year and future growth is estimated to by around 7 per cent.
That’s not only far higher than the CPI, it is about 50 per cent more than average yearly increase in the cost of general hospital and medical services.
Better use of medicine will reduce the cost of medicines to the community and to the Government, and will contribute to the medium and long term sustainability of the PBS.
Keeping the PBS sustainable is not the only reason to encourage consumers and health professionals to be more “MedicineWise”.
Around 140,000 hospitalisations each year in Australia are due to mishaps with medicines.
The Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement supports pharmacists to deliver a range of medication management services to promote Quality Use of Medicines.
It funds professional programs and services including home medicines reviews, clinical interventions, the provision of dose administration aids and Diabetes MedsCheck.
All of these programs mean that patients are able to get quality advice about their medications, through their pharmacist.
Another crucial way we are working towards the goal of MedicineWise consumers and health professionals, is through NPS and its work with the broader pharmaceutical industry since 1998.
One of NPS’s current programs for consumers, for example, relates to antibiotic resistance and respiratory tract infection.
NPS is asking all Australians to become ‘resistance fighters’ and join in the fight against antibiotic resistance by pledging to do three things:
- not to expect antibiotics for common colds and flus;
- to take antibiotics as directed, if they are prescribed; and
- to practice good hygiene to reduce the spread of germs.
If only another 15,000 agree to join the fight against antibiotic resistance it will bring Australia’s use of antibiotics down to a level comparable to other OECD countries.
NPS is also running a long term campaign to educate consumers about their brand choices to help them make decisions about alternate brands of medicines.
Through these and other activities, NPS is providing the community with quality information and effective tools to make the best decisions about their health and medicines.
It is also providing support to health professionals so they can access the latest information and evidence on which to base their decisions and prescriptions.
Tonight’s awards are another way in which NPS and the Australian Government recognise and encourage the work being done around the country to progress quality use of medicines.
The National MedicineWise awards build on the National Quality Use of Medicines Awards and acknowledge at the highest level, efforts by individuals, groups and organisations to improve medicines use and patient outcomes.
The award categories cover key areas that contribute to the quality use of medicines and include:
- building a medicinewise community: consumer programs;
- education for health professionals to build quality use of medicines skills;
- excellence in labelling and packaging;
- best e-health resources; and
- best media report of a medicines story.
When accessing large documents (over 500 KB in size), it is recommended that the following procedure be used:
- Click the link with the RIGHT mouse button
- Choose "Save Target As.../Save Link As..." depending on your browser
- Select an appropriate folder on a local drive to place the downloaded file
Attempting to open large documents within the browser window (by left-clicking)
may inhibit your ability to continue browsing while the document is
opening and/or lead to system problems.
To view PDF (Portable Document Format) documents, you will need to have a PDF reader installed on your computer. A number of PDF readers are available through the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Web Guide website.