The Australian government’s Department of Health (DoH) has passed new legislation mandating that a medicine’s active ingredient must be detailed on prescriptions, packaging, pharmacy dispensing labels and in Australian patients’ My Health Record Shared Summaries.
The change is part of an initiative to support the consistent and safer use of medicines, and forms part of Australia’s new, national health priority for the quality use of medicines and medicine safety.
“Supporting people to recognise medicines by their active ingredient may help prevent people inadvertently taking an active ingredient they are allergic to, or taking an active ingredient that may interact with another medicine,” said the DoH in a statement, adding the initiative is also designed to encourage people to have more discussions about generic medicines.
The new rules won’t, however, interfere with people’s choice of medicines, or a doctor’s ability to prescribe the medicine that best meets a person’s clinical need, said the DoH. “Doctors can still select specific brands of medicine and can include a brand name on a prescription if they believe it’s necessary.”