NPS Media Releases – Australian Prescriber Current Edition

Latest edition of Australian Prescriber out now

The latest issue of Australia’s free, national, independent journal of drugs and therapeutics is now available. The journal facilitates debate about complex, controversial or uncertain therapeutic areas. Some of the highlights of the December 2016 issue include:

How safe are biosimilars?

Ross McKinnon from Flinders University and Michael Ward from the University of South Australia discuss the safety considerations of biosimilar drugs. Biosimilar drugs are not the same as generic drugs. The structural complexity of biosimilars means there is more uncertainty about the safety of patients switching between biosimilar products. The authors discuss some of the problems that have arisen when assumptions have been made about the bioequivalence of these products.

Correcting iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anaemia. In Australia it is highly prevalent in indigenous communities, and affects approximately 10% of young woman. Jonathan Baird-Gunning and Jonathan Bromley of Canberra Hospital provide a summary for prescribers on iron deficiency, including assessing and correcting the condition through diet, oral and parenteral iron.

Are the new oral anticoagulants better than warfarin?

Paul Chin and Matthew Doogue from the University of Otago, New Zealand, provide an update on the new oral anticoagulants dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban. They summarise what to consider when selecting an oral anticoagulant for long-term use. The article outlines the characteristics of the new oral anticoagulants and warfarin, and provides practice points on dosing, clinical and laboratory monitoring, the role of patient preference, and how to manage bleeding.

Top 10 drugs

This edition of Australian Prescriber contains details of the top 10 subsidised drugs for the year July 2015–16. Cholesterol medicine atorvastatin tops the lists of prescription counts and defined daily dose per 1000 population per day. The hepatitis C combination medicine ledipasvir/sofosbuvir tops the list of expensive drugs as it cost the government more than $570 million for the year.

Other articles in the December 2016 issue of Australian Prescriber include:

*  Paediatric pharmacokinetics and drug doses

*  The practice pharmacist: a natural fit in the general practice team

*  Midwifery prescribing in Australia

*  Dental note: treating patients on new anticoagulant drugs

*  Medicines Australia Code of Conduct: breaches

Australian Prescriber is now fully digital and available at


The December edition of Australian Prescriber contains details of the latest top 10 subsidised drugs for the year.

Cholesterol medicine atorvastatin tops the lists of prescription counts and defined daily dose per 1000 population, while the hepatitis C combination ledipasvir/sofosbuvir tops the list of expensive drugs, costing the government more than $570 million for the year.

The hepatitis C drugs topping the list is the biggest change from last year’s figures, says Australian Prescriber’s medical editor Dr John Dowden.

“These two new hepatitis C medicines—the combination ledipasvir and sofosbuvir, and sofosbuvir on its own—have come onto the market and rocketed into the number one position on the list of top drugs by cost to government,” he said.

“They were only approved in March 2016 and in the four months to June 2016 have cost the government almost $1 billion for 43,000 prescriptions.”

“These new hepatitis C medicines could help eradicate the disease altogether,” says Dr Dowden 

Other expensive medicines with lower number of prescriptions include adalimumab for arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases, ranibizumab and aflibercept for macular degeneration, etanercept for autoimmune disease, and trastuzumab for breast cancer.

“It’s interesting to note that the most commonly prescribed medicines—such as the proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole and fluticasone/salmeterol for asthma—are not the most expensive,” said Dr Dowden. 

“In terms of common medicines taken by large numbers of the population, we are continuing to see the trend of previous years where medicines for cholesterol and high blood pressure top the list by prescription count.”

To read the full article and others, visit from Monday 5 December.


Australian Prescriber NPS MedicineWise
acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Learn more about the safety and efficacy of mepolizumab in patients with severe eosinophilic asthma.
elderly lady eye
Olaparib is indicated as maintenance therapy for people with BRCA-mutated high-grade serous epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer.
woman holding pill in front of stomach
Talimogene is an oncolytic immunotherapy for melanoma consisting of genetically modified herpes simplex virus 1. Find out how it works, who might benefit and the adverse effects.
Keep up to date with all the latest news on drugs and therapeutics.
AP logo NPS-negative
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *