NPS MedicineWise and the RUM Project will see funding cut by millions

The National Prescribing Service MedicineWise (NPS) and the National Return of Unwanted Medicines (NatRUM) will see their funding cut by a total of $40 million over four years, according to Tuesday night’s Budget announcement.

In the Budget papers, the Government says it will “offer National Prescribing Service MedicineWise and the National Return of Unwanted Medicines the certainty of a new four-year funding agreement in return for more efficient delivery of their services, saving $40 million over four years from 2018-19.”

“Health professionals and customers will continue to have free access to information to support the safe use and prescription of medicines, health care services and tests, and access to collection points to return expired and unwanted medicines,” the Budget papers say.

The cuts represent a reduction of about 25% in the funding of the two agencies, says the Pharmacy Guild.

The Government says the savings from this measure will be redirected to fund other health policy priorities.

However both organisations have responded positively to the announcement.

“Quality use of medicines and medical tests remains a cornerstone of quality healthcare and we are pleased the Australian Government has reaffirmed its ongoing commitment and support for our work,” says Dr Lynn Weekes AM, Chief Executive Officer of NPS MedicineWise.

“We welcome longer term funding certainty and will work closely with the Department of Health to determine key priorities and deliverables for the next four years.”

Project Manager of the RUM Project Toni Riley told AJP that although RUM is in the same funding pool as NPS, funding will virtually be maintained.

“However, we are operating in a tighter environment because we are experiencing a 14% growth due to the success of our PR campaign which has definitely raised awareness of the scheme,” says Ms Riley.

“This has been particularly noticeable among the general population. Over the next 12 months we hope to do another general population survey to assess awareness of the program and if this is being maintained.”

Ms Riley says, anecdotally, they believe awareness of the program continues to increase.

At APP2018, Ms Riley spoke with AJP about the goals of the RUM Project and its Australia’s Oldest Medicines Competition. See the video here: