NPS Media Releases – 1. Excellence in Media Reporting 2. Medicinewise Judging Panel Announced 3. Medicinewise Impact on Outcomes 4. Quality Use of Antidepressants

13 April 2016
Entries are now open for the category ‘Excellence in media reporting’
 in the biannual National Medicinewise Awards.

This award category recognises Australian media articles or broadcasts that have raised awareness of significant medicines or medical test issues, either among health professionals or the general public. The winning report will be judged on clinical accuracy, unique angle, impact of the story and depth of investigation.

To find out more, and submit an entry go to

In 2014, the award for Excellence in media reporting was won by Amy Corderoy for the article “Wellness Inc”, published in The Sydney Morning Herald.

A flyer about the awards is attached to display in your office. If you have any further queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Entries close 22 April 2016.

12 APRIL 2016

Entries and nominations are closing soon for the 2016 National Medicinewise Awards, while an expert judging panel has been appointed to select the winners.

Closing on Friday 22 April, the National Medicinewise Awards recognise contributions to quality use of medicines, medical tests and health technologies. They will be presented by NPS MedicineWise as part of this year’s National Medicines Symposium in Canberra from 19-20 May.

The expert judging panel comprises highly respected advocates for quality use of medicines:

*  A/Prof Andrea Mant — School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales,

*  Ms Diane Walsh — Chair NPS MedicineWise Consumer Advisory Group

*  A/Prof Kay Price — School of Nursing and Midwifery – University Of South Australia

*  Ms Aine Heaney — Client Relations Manager, NPS MedicineWise

*  Ms Jan Donovan — Consumer Advocate

*  Dr Stephen Phillips OAM — GP, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

*  Prof Ric Day AM — Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at UNSW and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney

Ms Donovan, Dr Phillips and Prof Day are honorary members of NPS MedicineWise.

The award categories are:

*  Consumer initiatives: community level

*  Consumer initiatives: population level

*  Health professional programs: <$100,000 budget

*  Health professional programs: >$100,000 budget

*  Excellence in consumer information

*  Excellence in e-health resources

*  Excellence in media reporting

Winners will receive widespread recognition, promotion and acknowledgment of their efforts in improving the Australian healthcare landscape as well as a complimentary registration to NMS 2018.

Entries and nominations close Friday 22 April 2016. To find out more and to submit an entry go to

8 APRIL 2016

The percentage of consumers who report asking doctors for antibiotics dropped from 17% in 2014 to 13% in 2015, while programs across seven different therapeutic areas in the 2013-14 financial year returned cost savings to the PBS of $69.24 million, according to the 2014-15 Annual Evaluation Report from NPS MedicineWise.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes says the report, published this week, provides a snapshot of progress and key achievements in the organisation’s quest to improve health and economic outcomes for all Australians. 

“The 2013-14 financial year was a busy one, with some excellent outcomes from our work in fighting antibiotic resistance, in returning significant savings to PBS expenditure, and in reducing expenditure on CT scans and vitamin D tests,” says Dr Weekes.

“Our general practice data and quality improvement program MedicineInsight has recruited over 500 general practices, which represents over 2,000 GPs and 2.5 million active patients across Australia. Importantly, practices believe that participating in MedicineInsight has positively impacted on their clinical practice and how they think about their patient care. Practices demonstrated improvements to patient care after participating in a MedicineInsight quality improvement activity, with 23% of practices showing a ≥3% improvement in patients’ blood pressure and HbA1c targets.

“And our overall reach has continued to grow, with more than 5.5 million visits to our website and 2.9 million Twitter and 4.6 million Facebook views in 2014-15, more than 30,000 unique learners completing at least one of our 26 online courses for health professionals, a readership for our journal Australian Prescriber of 52,000, and our new medicines publication RADAR distributed to almost 80,000 health professionals, an increase of 6% on the previous year.”

The report also highlighted that:

  • The PBS savings reported in 2015, representing data for the 2013-14 financial year, totalled $69.24 million. NPSMedicineWise quality use of diagnostic programs delivered $11.60 million savings from reduced expenditure on CT scans for the period July 2013 to February 2015, and $21.45 million savings for reduced expenditure on vitamin D tests for the period November 2013 to October 2014;
  • A cost benefit analysis found that for every $1 invested in the NPS MedicineWise program ‘Balancing benefits and harms of antipsychotic therapy’, $2.40 in benefits was generated, including 177 averted strokes and a 7.3% reduction in modelled PBS prescription volume for those aged over 70 year with an estimated saving of over $4 million as well as over $2 million in savings for state hospitals;
  • GPs who participated in the ‘Promoting safe use of medicines in older people’ program were significantly more knowledgeable than those who did not participate regarding some of the triggers for reviewing a patient’s medicine. Significantly more GPs who participated in the program (64%) correctly stated they would always consider withdrawing benzodiazepines when there is a decline in a patient’s cognition and psychomotor skills, compared to GPs who did not (54%); and
  • A retrospective cohort study using linked data sets showed that the NPS MedicineWise hypertension management program resulted in the intervention group being less likely to be initiated fixed dose combination antihypertensive drugs than the control group.

“The information in our Annual Evaluation Report is used to understand what we’ve achieved and where and how improvements can be made to ensure better health outcomes through our current and future work,” says Dr Weekes.

To read the full Annual Evaluation Report 2014-15 go to

6 APRIL 2016 

In a new development, the latest Pharmacy Practice Review developed by NPS MedicineWise is available in an express version, making it a perfect choice for time-poor pharmacists to earn CPD credits

Depression: Supporting quality use of antidepressants highlights opportunities for pharmacists to support patients starting or continuing antidepressant treatment, and addresses common misconceptions and common barriers to best practice.

Aine Heaney, NPS MedicineWise spokesperson and pharmacist says, “Pharmacists have an important role in supporting patient understanding of antidepressants, by asking questions, providing advice and supporting the information needs of patients. 

“After completing this activity, pharmacists will be able to discuss with patients the use of antidepressants as part of a broader management plan to manage depression, including psychological treatments and supportive approaches. 

“The Pharmacy Practice Review is a reflective learning activity, and for the first time is available both as an express version requiring 5 patient encounters, or a full version requiring 10 patient encounters, making it a more flexible CPD activity.”

Expert commentary about the findings will be provided by reviewer Dr Claire O’Reilly (community pharmacist and lecturer, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney).

Participants can choose from:

  1. Express version: record & reflect on data for 5 patient encounters (for 10 CPD credits), or
  2. Full version: record & reflect on data 10 patient encounters (for 16 CPD credits).

Participants also have free access to:

*  Up-to-date clinical guidance which provides evidence-based information and practical advice to update knowledge and guide counselling encounters with patients

*  Pharmacist tools that inform and support best practice discussions with patients.

NPS MedicineWise has also developed a case study, Tailoring initial treatment in depression: Re-examining the options, with content customised for pharmacists and eligible for 2 CPD credits. 

Find out more at

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