This issue of NPS RADAR covers the pros and cons of apixaban (Eliquis), another oral anticoagulant for preventing venous thromboembolism after knee or hip replacement surgery, and linagliptin (Trajenta), another dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor for add-on therapy in type 2 diabetes. In addition, our ‘In Brief’ section looks at the bioequivalence data for sumatriptan fast-disintegrating tablets (Imigran FDT), now approved for brand substitution.

In this issue, you will also find an update on RADAR in prescribing software. We recognise the importance of having access to independent information at the time of prescribing and continue to extend this service to more prescribers.

Regular readers will note that there are no full review articles in this issue. In fact, this is the first issue of RADAR since we started publishing in 2003 without any review articles. The reason is that no new drugs or new drug research met our selection criteria in this period.

How are drugs chosen for a RADAR review?

We start by reviewing the positive recommendations of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) on new drugs for PBS listing. Our selection process aims to identify key information needs in primary care. In consultation with an independent expert advisory group, we choose drugs or topics for review using the following criteria, three or more of which must be met:

  • there is a quality use of medicines issue
  • it will impact on drug use in primary care
  • it relates to current NPS work (e.g. a current therapeutic topic)
  • we anticipate frequent enquiries from the general public or health professionals
  • it is expected to be widely used
  • the PBAC has made a specific request to have a topic covered
  • significant media coverage — causing uncertainty or controversy — is likely.

In addition, we may also select a drug without a positive PBAC recommendation on the basis of it being likely to be promoted on private prescription.

The RADAR selection criteria are designed to provide transparency and consistency while achieving our aim of relevance. Like all aspects of RADAR, we review them regularly. As always, your comments about the quality of RADAR, and any inquiries or comments about our processes are most welcome.