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Australia's National Medicines Policy is outdated and in need of review

Brendan Shaw and Orin Chisholm
Med J Aust 2019; 211 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50268
Published online: 22 July 2019

How will issues such as disruptive innovation, precision medicine and climate change affect Australia's medicines policy going forward?

Australia's National Medicines Policy (NMP) was developed cooperatively between the government, the pharmaceutical industry, health care professionals and consumers. The NMP seeks to provide overarching policy direction around four interlinked pillars: timely access to the medicines that Australians need and at an affordable cost; medicines meeting appropriate standards of quality, safety and efficacy; quality use of medicines; and maintaining a responsible and viable medicines industry.1 The policy was finalised in 1999 and was an effective framework for the interaction of the major players in Australia's health system with respect to the quality use of medicines in Australia.1 Outcomes from the original NMP include the introduction of the National Prescribing Service (now called NPS MedicineWise), which improved health outcomes relating to the quality use of medicines;2 guiding frameworks for federal government health policy changes delivered by the Department of Health; and substantial savings to government generated by pharmaceutical innovations since the development of the NMP.3

  • Brendan Shaw1,2
  • Orin Chisholm1

  • 1 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Shawview Consulting, London, United Kingdom

Correspondence: o.chisholm@unsw.edu.au

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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