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Australians encouraged to "ask... and be wise with medicines"

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Friday 30 October. 1998


Promotion o f wise use o f medicines messages will be enhanced by community activities and a free medicines information phone-in during National M edicines Week from 8 to 14 November.

Department o f H ealth and Aged Care medical officer D r John Dowden said more than 300 individuals and groups across Australia have received grants for activities as part o f the annual event, which aims to increase awareness among consumers and health professionals about the benefits and risks o f medicines.

“M edicines are a part o f everyday life, but often their impact is misunderstood or unknown,” Dr D ow den said.

“National M edicines W eek is an important event because it makes people stop and think about the medicines they take - whether they are using them properly, and whether they know enough about them .”

D r Dowden said the community grants activities provide Australians with an excellent opportunity to learn more about medicines.

“The activities will reach rem ote areas o f Australia, including six isolated Aboriginal communities in South Australia," he said.

“They will include seminars about wise medicine use, question and answer sessions on local radio, and role plays about medicine use.”

Dr Dowden said another feature o f National M edicines W eek is a free medicines information phone-in service, which will run for the duration o f the week.

“People w ith concerns about medicines, such as possible side effects or interactions with other medicines, will be able to call the phone-in during National M edicines W eek and have their questions answered by doctors and pharmacists,” he said.

The phone-in will be available to people from anywhere in Australia, free o f charge, by calling 1800 440 155 between 9 a m. and 6 p.m. from Sunday, 8 Novem ber to Saturday, 14 November inclusive.

National M edicines W eek is an initiative o f the Commonwealth Department o f Health and Aged Care. The event is coordinated by the Pharmaceutical Health And Rational use o f Medicines (PHARM ) comm ittee - which provides advice to the Commonwealth Government on quality use o f medicines issues - in partnership with 10 peak health


Further information: Vanessa M onaghan, Departm ent o f Health and Aged Care, (02) 6289 5360 (including details o f community grants in each state/territory).

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