Much has changed since Australia’s National Medicines Policy (NMP) was first published in 2000.
To accommodate these adjustments to the healthcare landscape, the Department of Health commissioned a review that ran from August to October this year and sought feedback aimed at identifying ‘any gaps in the NMP’s objectives, partnership approach and accountabilities’.
In response, the RACGP put forward a submission highlighting the importance of how the policy is implemented and will translate into use in clinical practice.
RACGP representative Clinical Associate Professor Rashmi Sharma said that as the NMP is a ‘very high-level strategic document,’ it is important to understand that it is not all directly related to general practice at the grassroots level.
‘The objectives [of the NMP] are sound, but it is the application to the clinical space which is the important step, in ensuring access and quality − and also appropriate costs to the health budget,’ she said.
‘Many of the improvements that we see as a profession sit within the principles and objectives of the policy and hence should be considered within this framework.’
Associate Professor Sharma said that as the NMP’s objectives intersect with day-to-day general practice ‘at many levels’ the RACGP supports a review of the policy.
‘Especially with the recent advances in this area and also challenges that have come to light with the pandemic,’ she said.
‘We are hoping that the high-level principles translate into changes on the ground and that the changes that we feel need to be made align with the objectives of the policy.’
Key college recommendations related to the objectives of the policy include:
- mechanisms and/or mandates implemented to ensure a minimum supply of medication is available in Australia
- consideration of efficient and cheaper alternatives to community pharmacy dispensing
- improved post-marketing surveillance
- clear definition of the term ‘medical devices’, particularly software as a medical device
- standardisation and quality assurance for supporting tools and software for medical devices
- prescribing software and medication lists to be fully integrated with residential aged care facility software
- complementary and alternative medicines included in medicine databases, with more transparency about the benefits and harms to assist with adverse reaction monitoring.