NPS Media Releases -1. Help for GP Hepatitis C Management 2. New Tool for Diabetes Adherence 3. Take Charge of Your Medicines Week

22 July 2016
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE – Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) and NPS MedicineWise

A new online learning module, Managing hepatitis C in primary care, provides GPs with an update on the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of people with chronic hepatitis C infection.

Developed by NPS MedicineWise in collaboration with the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA), the new learning activity will help doctors in primary care to stay up to date with latest clinical evidence and enhance their skills around this evolving area of practice.

NPS MedicineWise spokesperson Ms Karen Kaye says that with the new direct-acting antiviral (DAA) agents now available on the PBS general schedule, it is even more vital that GPs are aware of Hepatitis C (HCV) management strategies.

“Hepatitis C remains a significant public health issue in Australia and GPs are an essential part of the management team,” says Ms Kaye.

“With World Hepatitis Day taking place on 28 July, we are encouraging GPs to make use of this new resource.”

GESA spokesperson Dr Simone Strasser says that GPs are playing an increasingly important shared role with specialist doctors in identifying, assessing and managing patients with hepatitis C- including monitoring of liver disease.

“This learning module has been developed using the expertise and clinical experience of liver specialists as well as the clinical experience of practising GPs,” says Dr Strasser.

“No matter what role you are currently playing in general practice, this module will give you an excellent introduction to managing your patients in collaboration with your specialist colleagues.”

The free learning module—hosted on the NPS MedicineWise learning website—discusses the steps involved in the diagnosis, treatment and long-term management of someone with HCV in general practice.

It presents GPs with useful resources, conversation starters, information on test pathways, and tips on communicating test results.

The activity was instigated by the Gastroenterological Society of Australia – Australian Liver Association (GESA ALA), with an educational grant from the International Coalition of Hepatology Education Providers (IC-HEP).

“It has been a pleasure to work with GESA on the development of the module and we look forward to ongoing collaboration,” says Ms Kaye.

The module is approved for professional development points with the RACGP and ACRRM and is recognised for the Quality Prescribing Incentive of the Practice Incentives Program.

To access the module go to

A new article for consumers explaining the new antiviral medicines has also been published on the NPS MedicineWise website at



A new survey* of Australians living with type 2 diabetes—released by NPS MedicineWise during National Diabetes Week—has shown that while the majority of people are satisfied overall with their level of involvement in decisions regarding the management of their diabetes, some would like to be consulted more, and many feel that they haven’t been fully informed about the range of treatment options or the details of the medicine they have been prescribed.

Survey respondents said that when they are starting on a new medicine, their doctor is most likely to discuss healthy lifestyle and habits that would complement the medicine and help in managing the condition (62%) and the benefits of the medicine (57%) with them.

However, less than half of the respondents (44%) said their doctor discussed how often or for how long they would need to take the new medicine, potential risks or side effects and how they could be managed (43%), other treatment options available (34%) and how they feel about the treatment options and their preferences (28%).

NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr Jeannie Yoo says that “as GPs we are often constrained by time, but asking patients about their beliefs and preferences when considering new treatment options, as well as providing them with details about their medicine such as potential side effects and how these can be managed, is an important factor in improving adherence.

“This is particularly important with medicines for type 2 diabetes, as patients are often asymptomatic and do not feel the immediate benefit of good glycaemic control,” she says.

The survey results indicate that more than 1 in 4 Australians with type 2 diabetes (28%) sometimes miss doses of their diabetes medicines, with the majority of patients who take two or more diabetes medicines (87%) missing their doses because they forget to take them or have a change in routine.

Shared decision making

According to the survey, although the majority of people with type 2 diabetes (78%) feel their level of involvement in decisions regarding the management of their condition is about right, 15% say they wish they were consulted more.

Respondents who identified** as Gen Y (22%) and Gen X (24%) are more likely than Baby Boomers (12%) and Traditionalists (8%) to say they wish they were consulted more about decisions regarding management of their type 2 diabetes.

“Shared decision making increases patient knowledge and understanding and helps to explore patient preferences within  a consultation. It can also provide patients with a structured way to weigh up their options after the consultation,” says Dr Yoo.

“We know that by involving the patient in decisions, and explaining all the risks and benefits upfront, if they do choose to start a medicine for their condition, then they are more likely to stick with it in the longer term. This is important, with  our survey showing that more than a quarter of people who take a medicine for their type 2 diabetes sometimes missing a dose.”

As part of the new type 2 diabetes educational program, NPS MedicineWise has designed a patient decision aid tool for health professionals (whether GPs, pharmacists, nurses or diabetes educators) and consumers to use when making a joint decision about starting metformin therapy.

Other findings

Interestingly, survey respondents said that their doctor is the place where they are most likely to go to find information or have their questions answered about their type 2 diabetes medications.

Seventy percent of respondents said they would go to their doctor for this information, compared to 28% saying they would be most likely to go to their diabetes educator, 27% would go to Google and 25% to a pharmacist.

Find out more

To access the new ‘Lifestyle and metformin for type 2 diabetes: decision aid’ go to

NPS MedicineWise has recently launched an educational program for health professionals on type 2 diabetes, to encourageGPs, pharmacists, practice nurses and diabetes educators to take an individualised approach to diabetes management, balancing patient-specific factorswith medicine factors when choosing between the wide range of available diabetes treatments. To find out more and to access resources for your patients go to

*The survey of 502 Australian respondents aged 18 and over and taking at least one diabetes medicine was conducted online by Galaxy Research in June 2016. Full survey results are available upon request.

**Gen Y refers to those aged 18-34 years; Gen X: 35-49 years; Baby Boomer: 50-64 years; Traditionalists: 65 years and older

12 July 2016
NPS MedicinewiseWeek

NPS MedicineWise has announced that Be Medicinewise Week will be held this year from 22-28 August 2016.

This year is the sixth annual Be Medicinewise Week, a national awareness week promoting the safer and wiser use of medicines by all Australians.

‘Take Charge!’ is this year’s theme and encourages Australians to have conversations with health professionals about their health to get the most out of their prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines, and to seek out evidence-based information to help them make better decisions about their health.

The 2016 campaign is encouraging people to:

*  Ask the right questions

*  Ask the right people

*  Follow the right advice.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes says that good management of medicines can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring good health.

“We all take medicines, but too often we take them for granted,” says Dr Weekes.

“Being medicinewise means getting the most benefit from your medicines. This Be Medicinewise Week, we are encouraging people to take charge of their health when it comes to medicines. This means asking the right questions before they take a medicine, asking the right people for evidence-based advice and following the right advice on using medicines.”

To find out more about Be Medicinewise Week visit


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