NPS updates online medicines brand finder

The NPS online Medicine Name Finder has been updated with a new feature to help consumers make choices between medicine brands.

Designed to help people find important information about their prescription medicines, the tool has a quick and easy-to-use interface where users can type in the name of their medicine to find out more about the active ingredient and brands available, plus a link to the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) leaflet.

This new feature enables users to type in either the active ingredient or brand name of their medicine and, after selecting their prescribed dose, view a list of bioequivalent brands which they may be offered at the pharmacy.

CEO of NPS Lynn Weekes said the new feature will help consumers identify the different brands available for their medicine, helping them to make a safe and confident choice.

“When the active ingredient of a medicine comes off patent, the number of available brands can quickly increase,” Dr Weekes said. “Using the Medicine Name Finder, people can quickly see a list of the different brands available to so they can be sure they are taking the right medicine and avoid confusion.”

She said that with the patent for cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor expiring last week, it’s likely many people will be offered a different brand of medicine than the one they were originally prescribed, and may have been taking for some time.

“For people who take medicines regularly, it can be confusing if they are suddenly offered a different brand by their pharmacist,” she said. “The brand name, the design of the packaging and even the colour or size of the tablets, may all look different.”

The data about medicines supporting the online tool is provided by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Division of the Department of Health and Ageing and will be updated monthly. The tool does not cover over-the-counter, natural, herbal or complementary medicines, or medicines that are not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Doctors and pharmacists can direct patients to more information on medicine brands at NPS' brand choices section on its website.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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