Medicine brand choices: Pharmacy resource pack in the mail

16 May 2012

This week all community pharmacies around Australia will receive a pack of NPS resources. The resources are designed to support conversations with consumers about choosing a medicine brand, reduce confusion about multiple medicine brands and improve medicine safety.

The pack is supported by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

Ms Karen Kaye, Head of Programs at NPS, says that with the number of medicines coming off patent over the next few months, it is likely pharmacists will be offering more customers a choice of medicine brand.

“The choice between medicine brands can cause confusion for some people, however regardless of the medicine brand they choose, it’s important for people to feel confident knowing that if the active ingredient is the same and the medicine is known to be bioequivalent, it will work in the same way,” says Ms Kaye.

“The new NPS pack for community pharmacies is designed to support conversations with consumers so they can make more informed and confident choices about their medicine brand.”

The pack includes:

  • Medicine brand choices brochures to improve consumer understanding about medicine brands and help consumers find the active ingredient on their medicine label
  • NPS Medicines Lists to help consumers keep track of all the medicines they are using and record any changes (especially between brands)
  • Repeat prescription folders with a medicine safety message
  • Pharmacy Assistant Quick Guides to help pharmacy staff have conversations with consumers about medicine brand choices
  • Pharmacists and staff guide to making medicine brand choices less confusing for consumers
  • A bookmark reminder with information on how to order resources.

“We encourage pharmacists to use the new resources and discuss the messages with their staff in the context of their own pharmacy’s brand substitution policy,” says Ms Kaye.

The Quick Guides in the new pack have been designed specifically for pharmacy assistants who begin most of the conversations with consumers about medicine brand choices.

“Pharmacy assistants play a key role in making medicine brand choices less confusing and can help connect people with advice when they need it so they feel confident in their choice,” says Ms Kaye.

“The Quick Guides can be attached on computer screens and on the prescription counter so pharmacy assistants can easily refer to them when discussing medicine brand choices with consumers.”

The Medicine brand choices brochure will also be available for consumers in over 2,500 GP practice waiting rooms nationally between May-July, in English and some other languages.

The pack is being distributed to pharmacies around the country this week. To order additional materials, as well as a number of additional free resources (including brochures and NPS Medicines Lists in 10 different languages), visit


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