Be Medicinewise Week (20nd – 26th August 2018) is a national awareness week held each year in Australia. The campaign was launched in 2011, encouraging people across Australia to “take charge” of their health by promoting a safer and more educated use of medicines.
How it all started
NPS MedicineWise was founded in 1998 following a shift in the health policy related to the Quality Use of Medicines. Its initial aim was to lower of costs of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and over the years it has managed to generate massive savings by reducing unnecessary prescriptions and improving the decision-making process within the medical community.
NPS MedicineWise is now working towards developing resources and implementing new programs to improve the communication between patients and health professionals.
A similar approach in the UK
The same shift can be seen in the UK as the NHS has implemented new guidelines to regulate unnecessary or inappropriate prescriptions. Read more here.
The NHS has also recognised the importance of patient-professional communication, along with improving patient knowledge and the understanding of the medicines they’re taking.
Reasons behind the Be MedicineWise Week
For the past 120 years, the world of medicine and therapeutics has been characterised by a continuous revolution. In the 1890s prescription drugs were solely to relieve pain and treat fatal diseases. Read more here.
Fast forward to 2018 and things look a little different. In Australia alone 9 million people (more than 25% of the population) use prescription medication on a daily basis and every year over 230,000 people are hospitalized due to complications with their medication intake. 61% of Australia’s stopped taking their medicine without consulting their healthcare professional or just ignored the directions given altogether.
What to do next
Even if initially prescribed for pain relief or treatment, prescription medication used inappropriately can be fatal. Be MedicineWise Week offers advice not only on how to have a proper conversation with your health professional, but also on how to manage your own health.
Visit the NPS website for more information.