Medicines can ‘swallow up’ a substantial chunk of the family budget … but the Autumn 2008 edition of MedicinesTalk explains simple ways to reduce spending on medicines without compromising your health.
MedicinesTalk is a free quarterly newsletter written by consumers for consumers and published by the National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS). NPS is an independent, non-profit organisation for Quality Use of Medicines funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
Suggestions for saving money on medicines include having your medicines reviewed to determine if you still need all of your medications and considering less expensive generic versions of your prescription medicines.
The Manager of the Community Quality Use of Medicines Program at NPS, Hannah Baird, said this edition of MedicinesTalk would also help consumers to understand the terms ‘safety net’ and ‘authority prescription’.
“The Safety Net allows people who have spent more than a certain amount on medicines in a calendar year to get their medicines more cheaply or even free of charge for the rest of that year,” Ms Baird explained.
“In some cases an authority prescription may allow a doctor to prescribe more medicine than is usually allowed, potentially meaning fewer prescriptions and fewer visits to your doctor. Both are well worth considering for people trying to make their medicine dollar stretch further.”
This issue also discusses the potential for over-the-counter (non-prescription) medicines to interact with prescription medicines – sometimes with dangerous consequences.
“The more medicines you take, the greater the risk of interactions. The article includes some examples of interactions and how to minimise the risk.”
Another article weighs up the benefits and risks of using new medicines and advises consumers about where to obtain more information.
Also featured is a quick quiz for consumers to test their knowledge of the quality use of medicines issues covered in this edition of MedicinesTalk.
People with queries or concerns about their medicines should speak to their GP or pharmacist. They can also call the NPS Medicines Line on 1300 888 763 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm EST) and speak to a pharmacist for the cost of a local call.
To download this and past editions of MedicinesTalk and to find out about other NPS consumer resources go to www.nps.org.au/consumers or call (02) 8217 8700 to subscribe to MedicinesTalk and receive future editions in hard copy.