Australia Focuses on the Quality Use of Medicines: Policy and Action. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 015 (1993)
(1993; 2 pages)


By 1992, Australia had a three component drug policy in place, but it lacked a measure linking the existing components to health outcomes. Since the majority of Australians use medicines regularly, the addition of a rational use component was necessary. Problems with drug use existed in Australia and definitive studies were needed to analyze them. The government funded education programs but an overall strategy was needed. The Minister formed two advisory groups, one council of formal representatives from different major organizations, and the Pharmaceutical Health and Rational Use of Medicines (PHARM) Working Group. This development made waves in the developed world due to its multidisciplinary approach. PHARM is comprised of industry, government, consumer and health professional experts. Including experts from different fields creates a new opportunity for dialogue between sectors to discuss and solve problems through the sharing of different perspectives, knowledge and interests. PHARM created a policy on the quality use of medicines that was adopted by the Australian government in 1992, along with various other health initiatives. They include programs focusing on education and training, consumer services, provider services and education campaigns. Since then, indicators and other means of monitoring the use of medicines are being developed, and a task force is aiming to create more user-friendly drug information. The success of Australia’s new policies will depend on the success of collaboration between industry, health professionals and consumers.

Abstract written by M. Tobin, 2013.

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