The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.
Letter to the editor
Editor, – I refer to the editorial 'Quality use of generic medicines' (Aust Prescr 2004;27:80-1).
Confusion resulting from the availability of multi-sourced brands of medications is predictable within our rapidly changing prescribing and dispensing environments.
For decades, prescribing by manufacturers' brand names was manageable when most medications were available as a single brand. It should also be noted that brand names are required for all products as part of Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulatory requirements.
Australia has a growing generics segment. This is synonymous with growing numbers of brands of the same medications and it is time for current prescribing practices to be reviewed to determine better ways to manage multi-sourced brands.
An Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council (APAC) subcommittee has concluded that Australia should move towards increased use of active ingredient names. In the UK, this has served to educate the public and health professionals to identify medications, primarily, by their international (approved) active ingredient names and not by local, brand names.
As per the authors' comments, increased prominence of active ingredient names is being recommended by various health committees to assist patients and professionals.
An APAC subcommittee will shortly deliver a report on the management of these issues. This report will address concerns about confusion related to over-reliance by all stakeholders on brand names. The process has begun to make some simple but essential improvements to the management of all medications by speaking and writing more in the language of medicine and less in the language of marketing.
Director, Sales and Marketing