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$8.8 million to support best practice prescribing

Monday, 19 May 2008

Dunne: $8.8 million over 4 years to support best practice prescribing

Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne today announced an $8.8 million investment in the development and ongoing maintenance of a national electronic medicines formulary* over the next four years.

"Improving the way we use medicines has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for New Zealanders," said Mr Dunne.

Medicines New Zealand (the Government's medicines strategy) and Actioning Medicines New Zealand were released in December last year. The development of a long-term medicines strategy is the result of the Government's confidence and supply agreement with UnitedFuture.

Medicines New Zealand provides the overarching framework to guide action, policy and decisions across the medicines system.

It is designed to align the agencies and stakeholders that make up our medicines system toward the common goals of quality, access and optimal use.

The development and implementation of a national medicines formulary is a key initiative identified in Actioning Medicines New Zealand.

"Improving health through a greater focus ensuring that medicines are used as intended - that is the 'optimal use of medicines' - is an important goal of Medicines New Zealand," said Mr Dunne. "Developing a formulary for New Zealand prescribers is part of what is needed to achieve optimal use."

The national formulary will provide prescribers with sound up-to-date information about the use of medicines, including information about guidelines and alerts, dosage, adverse reactions and interactions, contraindications, and whether the medicine is listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule.

This information will be available online so it can be easily accessed by prescribers and quickly updated.

"There is increasing awareness of the benefits of prescribers being able to access unbiased information about medicines to support their prescribing practices.

"The formulary will provide quick access for prescribers, such as GPs, to comprehensive, New Zealand-oriented medicines information and will enable easy access to other e-health resources.

"There is potential for the formulary to reduce medication errors and support evidence-based prescribing.

"2008 is seeing the steady roll-out of Actioning Medicines New Zealand initiatives and I am delighted to announce this significant financial commitment to progress the work on a formulary.

I look forward to further implementation of Actioning Medicines New Zealand initiatives as the year progresses," said Mr Dunne.

ENDS

*formulary: pharmaceutical reference book, containing a list of pharmaceutical products with details of their use, preparation, properties and formulas.

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