13 October, 2014 – As Be Medicinewise Week launches for its fourth year, NPS MedicineWise is asking all Australians ‘are your medicines helping or hindering?’ as figures* released today indicate that many Australians surveyed are keeping expired medicines in their home.

Chief Executive of NPS MedicineWise, Dr Lynn Weekes AM, says that Be Medicinewise Week 2014 reminds Australians who take medicines about the importance of medication safety and being medicinewise.

Safe use of medicines is a really important health issue which is why we’ve made this the focus of Be Medicinewise Week 2014,” says Dr Weekes.

The polling of 1,000 adults released today by NPS MedicineWise shows that the average Australian surveyed reported more than nine different types of medicines in their home. Of people who have over 5 different types of medicines in their home around half of those surveyed acknowledge they have out-of-date medicine in their home.

Clearly people are holding on to expired medicines and keeping these in the home which increases their risk of misadventure. This Be Medicinewise Week we’re reminding people to regularly clean out their medicines cabinet and check the expiry date on all of their medicines.”

Our message today is to pay attention to what is in your medicine cabinet and always check the expiry date. Most medicines will slowly deteriorate over time, which can make them less effective and in some cases harmful.”

Australians can take their unwanted, unused or expired medicines to their local pharmacy for safe disposal. Disposing of medicines with their local pharmacist will ensure medicines do not end up in waterways or landfill.”

Now in its fourth year, Be Medicinewise Week reminds Australians about the importance of making safe and informed decisions about their medicines and health. This year the national initiative has an overarching theme of ‘are your medicines helping or hindering?’ and is designed to equip Australians with tools and resources to assist them with medicine safety and being medicinewise.

NPS MedicineWise is asking all Australians ‘are your medicines helping or hindering?’. After checking the expiry dates on medicines in the home, it’s a good time to start a medicines list. A medicines list allows you to record all your medicines, the reason you are using the medicine and the dose,” says Dr Weekes.

Our free smartphone app, MedicineList+, is a good way to track your medicines and those of the people you care for.”

As part of Be Medicinewise Week, people are urged to take our online medicines challenge and learn how to be more medicinewise. The challenge can be accessed at

Look out for more information about medication safety throughout Be Medicinewise Week. Our themes for each day are:

            Monday 13 October:                  Medication safety in the home environment

            Tuesday 14 October:                 Be safe with complementary medicines

            Wednesday 15 October:            Adverse medicines events

            Thursday 16 October:                Medication safety in different environments

            Friday 17 October:                    Safe and wise use of pain relievers

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