Education toolkits for general practice

Digital initiatives to support medicines safety

3. Active Ingredient Prescribing

Last revised: 29 May 2024

3. Active Ingredient Prescribing

Definition

Active Ingredient Prescribing refers to an initiative under which all electronic Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) prescriptions must include the name of the active ingredient (not simply the brand name of the medicine).

There are some exceptions under the initiative. It does not apply to prescriptions for medicines with four or more active ingredients. Certain items are also excluded for practicality and safety reasons. The initiative does not apply to handwritten prescriptions or to paper-based medication charts in hospitals and residential aged care settings.

Benefits

Active Ingredient Prescribing increases:

  • The uptake of generic/biosimilar medicines
  • The financial sustainability of the PBS
  • Public awareness of generic medicines
  • Patient understanding of their medicines (health literacy)

It decreases:

  • Out-of-pocket expenses for patients by promoting generic/biosimilar medicines
  • The risk of incorrect dosing if patients take multiple medications that have the same active ingredient
  • The risk of interaction effects with other medicines and allergic reactions if patients are more aware of the active ingredients in their medicines.
This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

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