This new, regular podcast from NPS MedicineWise helps health professionals stay up to date with the latest evidence for medicines, tests and treatments, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hosted by a rotating group of interviewers including our CEO and pharmacist, Adj A/Prof Steve Morris, and GP and NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr. Anna Samecki, we’ll wade through the reams of information – and sometimes misinformation – to provide answers from trusted sources for all of your quality use of medicines questions.

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Episode 12: An insight into the national COVID-19 response

In this episode NPS MedicineWise CEO Steve Morris is joined by Professor Michael Kidd AM, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government Department of Health.

They discuss the role of the Department of Health’s National Incident Room and the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, the challenges of managing chronic disease during this pandemic - particularly in vulnerable populations, and some the ways health professionals are ensuring continuity of care and access to medicines to patients in this rapidly changing environment.

Further reading

National Incident Room: www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/national-incident-room

National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce: covid19evidence.net.au

Episode 11: Are you Choosing Wisely during the pandemic?

In this episode, Steve Morris speaks with Dr Simon Judkins, an emergency physician working in Victoria at one of the Choosing Wisely Australia Champion Health Service hospitals. They discuss how the Choosing Wisely principles, particularly around resource stewardship and the importance of conversations about what care is necessary, have been relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also look at how new pandemic guidance from Choosing Wisely Australia will help health professionals and consumers navigate the current environment.

Further reading
Choosing Wisely principles: www.choosingwisely.org.au/what-is-choosing-wisely-australia

Choosing Wisely pandemic guidance for health professionals: www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/health-professionals/choosing-wisely-australia-pandemic-guidance

Choosing Wisely pandemic guidance for consumers: www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/consumers-and-carers/choosing-wisely-australia-pandemic-guidance

5 questions to ask - for consumers to use to start a conversation with their doctor or other healthcare provider about what matters to them and their health, available in English and 12 additional languages: www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/consumers-and-carers/5-questions-to-ask-your-doctor-or-other-healthcare-provider-before-you-get-any-test-treatment-or-procedure

Becoming a Choosing Wisely Australia Champion Health Service: www.choosingwisely.org.au/health-services

Episode 10: Shining a light on vitamin D

There has been some recent buzz around vitamin D supplements and their role in preventing or even treating COVID-19.

In this episode, NPS MedicineWise medical adviser and GP Dr Anna Samecki talks to NPS MedicineWise senior clinical program officer and pharmacist Rawa Osman to discuss whether or not vitamin D supplements may protect people with COVID-19 from more serious health complications, possible indirect links between vitamin D deficiency and poorer outcomes for people with COVID-19, and quality use of testing principles when it comes to vitamin D.


Further reading:

NPS MedicineWise has a new article for consumers on vitamin D and COVID-19: www.nps.org.au/news/vitamin-d-and-covid-19

Episode 9: The PSA and COVID-19

In this episode, Steve Morris speaks with Chris Freeman, National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) about how pharmacists have responded and adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, navigated medicines access challenges and enabled continuity of care, and the importance of taking care of their own health and wellbeing.

Further reading

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) information for pharmacists: www.psa.org.au/coronavirus/

NPS MedicineWise COVID-19 information hub: www.nps.org.au/coronavirus

Episode 8: COVID-19 and the TGA

In this episode, NPS MedicineWise CEO Steve Morris speaks with the head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) John Skerritt about how the TGA is supporting clinicians and consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They discuss some of the unique challenges the TGA has faced and the way it has adapted to these, along with innovations that should be continued beyond the pandemic period.

Further reading:


The Therapeutic Goods Administration: www.TGA.gov.au

The refreshed NPS MedicineWise COVID-19 information hub: www.nps.org.au/coronavirus

Episode 7: Cardiovascular disease and COVID-19

In this episode, NPS MedicineWise medical adviser and GP Dr Anna Samecki talks to Natalie Raffoul, clinical pharmacist and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Manager at the Heart Foundation about the link between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and COVID-19.

They discuss the cardiac manifestations of COVID-19, the recommendations around antihypertensives, and some of the ways health professionals can encourage patients to seek out chronic disease management and preventative care.

Further reading and links

Episode 6: Dexamethasone and COVID-19 - an initial look

Early results from the RECOVERY trial in the UK are showing that steroid medicine dexamethasone reduces death in hospitalised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19.

In this episode, NPS MedicineWise medical adviser and GP Dr Anna Samecki talks to NPS MedicineWise senior clinical program officer and pharmacist Rawa Osman to take an initial look at what the preliminary results may show, implications for practice in Australia, and some tips on how to have conversations with patients about these findings.


Further reading

NPS MedicineWise article for health professionals - Report suggests dexamethasone reduces mortality in patients seriously ill with COVID-19: https://www.nps.org.au/dexamethasone

WHO - media release, 16/6/20: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/16-06-2020-who-welcomes-preliminary-results-about-dexamethasone-use-in-treating-critically-ill-covid-19-patients

University of Oxford - media release, 16/6/20: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2020-06-16-dexamethasone-reduces-death-hospitalised-patients-severe-respiratory-complications

Episode 5: Quality use of medicines and COVID-19

The principles of quality use of medicines have been an important guide for managing medicine issues during the COVID-19 pandemic and for investigating medicines being used to treat or prevent COVID-19.

In this episode, Steve Morris speaks with Professor Andrew McLachlan, Head of School and Dean of Pharmacy in the Sydney Pharmacy School at the University of Sydney. They discuss how the health sector has coped with the fact there is so little evidence about treatments for COVID-19, some of the concerning quality use of medicines issues that have come to light during the pandemic, and what has worked well.

For further reading, check out the recent Australian Prescriber article COVID-19 and the quality use of medicines: evidence, risks and fads.

To find the latest information about medicines, tests and treatments during COVID-19 go to www.nps.org.au/coronavirus

Episode 4: The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce

In this episode, CEO of NPS MedicineWise Adj A/Prof Steve Morris talks with Executive Director of the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce A/Prof Julian Elliott. They discuss the role of the Clinical Evidence Taskforce during this pandemic, NPS MedicineWise joining the Taskforce as a partner, the role of living evidence and guidelines, and recent and upcoming clinical topics to be covered by the Taskforce. 

To access the latest continually updated, evidence-based clinical guidelines and to find out more about the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce go to https://covid19evidence.net.au/

To read the latest on the NPS MedicineWise COVID-19 information hub go to www.nps.org.au/coronavirus

A joint media statement from NPS MedicineWise and the Clinical Evidence Taskforce about their partnership is available at www.nps.org.au/media