Leading Health Professionals Call to Prioritise Patient Safety in Roll Out of the Active Ingredient

Updated: Sep 14

Did you know more than 250,000 Australians are admitted to hospital each year because of medical related harm, costing the healthcare system $1.4 billion annually?

Today, professionals in the medical and healthcare sector have exclusively shared their positive predictions about the Active Ingredient Prescribing (AIP) initiative, which is part of a $1.8 billion investment announced to reduce the drugs bill over the next five years. In a panel discussion hosted by MedicalDirector, panellists and experts agreed that the initiative will have financial benefits, but the reduction in medication errors and associated deaths will be the most positive result.


The panel discussion mediated by Dr Charlotte Middleton, GP and Chief Medical Officer of MedicalDirector, featured:

  • Dr Shane Jackson, Pharmacist, Interim CEO and Former President, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

  • Elizabeth de Somer, Chief Executive Officer, Medicines Australia

  • Gloria Antonio, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, NPS Medicinewise

  • Dr Jill Gamberg, GP and Media Personality

All panellists overwhelmingly agreed that AIP is just the start of the journey and will help reduce the cost of medicines, mitigate risk of medication errors and increase health literacy among patients, but also emphasised the essential role education will play for both patients and healthcare professional to ensure a smooth transition and to avoid potential risks to patient safety.

Key Outtakes:

  • A robust education and health literacy program is key, with Dr Jackson reiterating that it’s the duty of healthcare professionals to transition the conversation with patients to AIP and ensure GPs and pharmacists are keeping lines of communication open

  • With any change of this magnitude, there will be risks amongst the positive factors, and that could come at the cost to patients’ safety. de Somer believes greater education around our healthcare system in general and the way the PBS works will also help consumers get on board with AIP changes

  • Patients and prescribers will still have freedom of choice when it comes to the medicines they want to consume and prescribe, and Dr Jackson stressed that AIP changes will not invalidate brand substitution preferences, and that GPs will continue to have the final word in which medication is prescribed. Likewise, consumers will be free to choose a generic or branded medication, provided the active ingredient is specified on the prescription

  • To support GPs in transitioning to this change, Dr Gamberg suggests a “multi-faceted” approach to ensure all GPs are well educated about the upcoming changes, and empowering GPs to provide feedback about any fears or concerns they have, be it via webinars, emails or letters

To hear more about AIP from the above healthcare experts, and to watch the launch episode in this online panel series, visit the MedicalDirector website. The 38-minute episode hosted by MedicalDirector is conducted in a Q&A format and explores the AIP changes through multiple lenses, discussing what the changes will mean for patients as well as healthcare professionals.


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