The active ingredient

women's health

A new resource is aimed at helping more people learn about the active ingredient in their medicines in different languages

To help culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities have better access to important information about medicines, NPS MedicineWise has created a consumer fact sheet on active ingredients available in English and ten additional languages.

Understanding the active ingredient in a medicine is part of being medicinewise, the organisation says.

GPs, nurses, pharmacists, other health professionals and carers who work with people who read Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese are encouraged to download the fact sheet to help people understand why the information on their prescription now looks different, says NPS MedicineWise.

The organisation cites research that found that people from CALD backgrounds experience higher rates of adverse outcomes from poor medication management, including medication-related hospital admissions.

People from CALD backgrounds often find information related to their medicines complex and overwhelming, in part because there is a lack of translated materials to support the safe use of medicines, says NPS.

“Our new multi-lingual fact sheet explains what an active ingredient is and how it differs from the brand name,” says Dr Anna Samecki, medical adviser at NPS MedicineWise and GP.

“It also explains what a generic medicine is and how it is just as safe and effective as a brand medicine containing the same active ingredient,” she says.

To support greater consistency in the way people see their medicines information, listing of the active ingredient is mandatory for all Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme  and Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits prescriptions as of 1 February 2021, with a small number of exceptions, NPS notes.

“The active ingredient fact sheet explains the changes people may have noticed with their prescriptions and explains why knowing the active ingredient of a medicine is so important,” says Dr Samecki.

NPS MedicineWise says it is encouraging health professionals with patients from CALD communities to use the translated information to support conversations about active ingredient prescribing and why prescriptions might look different from 1 February 2021.

The fact sheet is available in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

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