New brand choices resources coming to a community pharmacy near you

24 June 2013

From today, community pharmacies will receive new resources to help pharmacists and pharmacy assistants promote medicines safety and engage people in more informed conversations about medicine brand choices.

Part of the NPS MedicineWise Brand Choices campaign, the new resources feature the creative use of machinery cogs to dramatise how the same ‘mechanism’ or active ingredient is used in both generic and originator brands.

They’re designed to facilitate discussions about the safe and effective use of generic medicines, and empower people to make confident decisions when buying their medicines.

The campaign conveys a clear message that in most cases1, different brands of medicines containing the same active ingredient are an equal choice.

NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Andrew Boyden says that community pharmacists and pharmacy assistants are uniquely placed to help people understand why they are offered a choice of medicines and to ensure people make safe and medicinewise choices when it comes to generic medicines.

“Whether you’re someone who takes medicines frequently or you’re someone who rarely takes a medicine at all, being offered a choice of brands can be a very confusing experience.

“From research with consumers we know that people are getting comfortable with the idea that medicines come in different brands; but they still want reassurance that two medicines, with the same active ingredients, will work in the same way.

“As the interface between consumers and their medicines, pharmacists have a real opportunity to stop and talk to people about their medicines; to help people learn more about their brand choices and the safety issues involved.

“The more people know about the active ingredients in their medicines and the different medicine names, the more confident they can be in asking questions and making safe decisions when they are offered a choice of medicines.”

Dr Boyden stresses that supporting pharmacies as places of genuine community engagement is an important part of creating a medicinewise Australia and improving public health outcomes around the country.

“We know that pharmacists and pharmacy assistants play a vital role in community education. That’s why we’ve developed a range of tools to help facilitate important conversations about medicine choices and safety.”

This week community pharmacists will receive the new NPS MedicineWise Brand Choices pack, including:

  • An ‘Equal choice of medicines’ counter mat and pen
  • New Brand Choices DL brochures.

Pharmacies are encouraged to display these resources where prescriptions are accepted.

Posters and DL brochure stands from the 2012 Brand Choices campaign are available to re-order for free from the NPS MedicineWise website, and a resource pack was also delivered to hospital pharmacies last month.

1 For more information about medicine brand choices and circumstances when changing brands may not be safe or appropriate option visit: www.nps.org.au/safe-switching

ENDS

Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Media enquiries: Stephanie Childs on 02 8217 8667, 0419 618 365 or schilds@nps.org.au or Erin Jardine on (02) 8217 8733 or ejardine@nps.org.au