News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


5 Questions To Ask When You Are Offered An Alternative Brand

30 MARCH 2012

5 Questions To Ask When You Are Offered An Alternative Brand Of Medicine:
Be Medicinewise Week 2012

NPS has released a new quick question guide for consumers designed to help them make a safe and confident choice between medicine brands.

Available on the NPS website, the 5 questions cover what consumers should ask their pharmacist when they are offered a different brand of their medicine so that they make the right choice for them.

New research from NPS* found that 74% of Australians who take prescription medicines were offered an alternative brand of one of their medicines by their pharmacist the last time they purchased it. Of those offered a choice, 72% accepted the offer and purchased the alternative brand while 25% stayed with the brand they were originally prescribed.

NPS Head of Programs Karen Kaye says that with changes to medicine pricing arrangements coming into effect this weekend, the cost to consumers of many medicines will drop and some brands may become less expensive than others.

“Many people will be offered different brands of their usual medicines and, for most people, cost will be an important issue,” says Ms Kaye.

“Ultimately the choice lies with the consumer but it’s important people know that if they are offered an alternative brand of their prescription medicine, it will be just as safe and effective as their original brand.”

Ms Kaye says pharmacists will only offer an alternative brand of a medicine if it is bioequivalent to — that is, it works exactly the same way as — the original brand.

“When the patent for a medicine expires, other companies are able to manufacture medicines containing the same active ingredient and dose as the original brand. This means both brands have the same effect on your body,” says Ms Kaye.

“For some people the benefits of choosing a different brand, such as a lower price, may not be worth the drawbacks, such as adjusting to a different-looking medicine packet. People with certain conditions or in certain circumstances may be advised by their doctor to stick with their original brand.”

Medicine mishaps with generic medicines often come about because people don’t realise that the new brand of medicine is intended to replace an existing brand. Keeping a Medicines List is one way to keep track of the active ingredient in each medicine you’re taking to ensure you don’t double up.

“If you are confused or unsure, talk with your doctor, pharmacist or health professional who can help work out which choice is best for you,” says Ms Kaye.

5 questions to ask when you are offered an alternative brand of medicine

1. Is it okay for me to choose a different brand of my medicine?
2. What are the benefits and disadvantages for me if I use a different brand?
3. Is there a difference in cost?
4. Which of my usual medicines does this replace?
5. What is the active ingredient in my medicine?

Information about making safe medicine brand choices is available on the NPS website at

People with questions about their medicines can also call the Medicines Line (1300 MEDICINE or 1300 633 424), Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm EST.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Leonardo da Vinci - The Graphic Work

The breadth of da Vinci’s work is incredible: from animals to weaponry, architecture to fabric, maps to botany. The works have been divided into themes such as Proportion Drawings, Anatomical Drawings and Drawings of Maps and Plans. Each section begins with a short essay. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: James Hector: Explorer, Scientist, Leader

Publication of this comprehensive 274-page account of the life and work of James Hector by the Geoscience Society of New Zealand marks the 150th anniversary of James Hector’s appointment as New Zealand’s first government scientist. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news