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- Issue 81: April 2009
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- Issue 77: November 2008
- Issue 76: October 2008
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NPS News Releases

Katie Butt
From a Good Prescribing Perspective

Issue 77: November 2008
Page: 1 of 1 Author's Profile | Send to a Friend | Printer Version
The National Prescribing Service (NPS)is a valued independent resource for good and unbiased prescribing information and education.
Given the marketing pressures applied by global drug companies, Australia is blessed to have such a resource.
Pharmacists are moving closer to a prescribing role within the health system and it is appropriate that i2P promote the message of the NPS.
This Month:

 * National Prescribing Service Campaign wins major National PR award

  * Generic medicines campaign wins national PR award

  * Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign launch

National Prescribing Service Campaign wins major National PR award

National Prescribing Service Campaign wins major National PR award

The Get to know your medicines and Generic medicines are an equal choice campaigns run by National Prescribing Service Ltd in 2007 have won a 2008 National Golden Target Award from the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).

The entry in the “health organisations” category was awarded in front of a packed room of public relations professionals at the Annual PRIA Gala Dinner on Monday night, 13 October. NPS Marketing and Public Affairs Manager Georgina Green accepted the award on behalf of NPS CEO Dr Lynn Weekes.“Winning the award is a great achievement and recognition of NPS’s commitment to excellence. I am immensely proud of the NPS staff who were involved in the campaign but would also like to acknowledge the pivotal role our partner organisations played in helping us to communicate these important medicines messages, said Dr Weekes.Partner organisations included: the Consumers’ Health Forum of Australia, the Council on the Ageing (COTA), the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), Medicare Australia and a range of internal working groups comprising consumer, academic and health professionals.

This is an example of a consumer-led campaign having strong impact.

The Gala Dinner, held in the Grand Ballroom, Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle Western Australia, is one of the communication's industries major annual events.
The winning mass media campaign was run in two phases and was devised to encourage Australians to become more familiar with their medicines and better understand that generic medicines are of equal quality to original brand name medicines. It was aimed predominantly at senior Australians but also provided tools for health professionals. It achieved reach well beyond the expected target. The campaign raised awareness and audience recall of television advertisements and messages, an increase in calls to NPS Medicines Line and website hits, and the number of resources ordered was also beyond expectations.

The judges said the Get to Know Your Medicines and Generic medicines are an equal choice activity was an “excellent campaign which had clear, well explained goals and objectives, detailed target publics and good use of research. Evaluation was good and the results were excellent.”

“We received a record number of entries in the Golden Target Awards this year reflecting a high level of quality in Australian Public Relations. The Get to Know Your Medicines campaign reflects the outstanding efforts of the health PR industry in creating awareness and informing Australians of their options,” said Tracy Jones FPRIA, PRIA National President.

The National Prescribing Service is an independent non-profit, organisation funded by the Department of Health and Ageing. It promotes the Quality Use of Medicines. NPS research before the campaign showed that patients were not familiar with their medicines and didn’t know that generic medicines are an equal choice. After the campaign there was a significant change in awareness of these issues.
- e n d s -

For further information or for press access to the Awards contact Cathy Baker
02 9331 3346 or cathyb@pria.com.au.

Notes:

About the winning campaign
National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) is an independent non-profit organisation funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. The NPS promotes the Quality Use of Medicines – which means, if a medicine is necessary, effectively managing medicines and using medicines safely and effectively. The Get to Know Your Medicines and Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign utilised a variety of channels and media, including television, to promote the Quality Use of Medicines and increase awareness of the quality of generic medicines.

About the PRIA
PRIA is the peak body for Public Relations and Communication professionals in Australia. PRIA represents and provides professional support and recognition to over 3,000 individual practitioners, and more than 150 consultancies, across the States and Territories.

About the Golden Target Awards (and State Awards for Excellence)
The PRIA Golden Target Awards, now in their 32nd year, are Australia's premiere PR and Communication campaign awards. The Awards recognise excellence, best practice and professionalism in public relations. State Awards for Excellence (the local awards) are given locally in September and go on to compete in the National Awards which were announced in the Grand Ballroom of The Esplanade Hotel Fremantle Western Australia at 7:00pm on Monday 13 October. The Awards cover 17 categories of campaign, across the range of PR and communication disciplines.
www.pria.com.au

Generic medicines campaign wins national PR award

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) has won the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) National Golden Target Award for Health Organisations with its multi-audience campaign that focused on better understanding of medicines choices.

The NPS became a national finalist for its Get to know your medicines and Generic medicines are an equal choice campaigns after winning the NSW state competition last month.

Earlier this year the campaigns also won the international 2008 International Association of Business Communicators’ Gold Quill Award for Excellence in Communication and are a national finalist in the Australian Marketing Institute’s Awards for Marketing Excellence.

The campaigns ran from August to December 2007 and aimed at raising confidence and understanding of generic medicines among senior Australians, with a focus on safety, quality and choice. They comprised TVCs, a phone helpline, printed resources, website and community information sessions.

The prestigious Golden Target Award was presented to the NPS at the PRIA’s annual dinner in Fremantle on Monday, 13 October.

NPS CEO, Lynn Weekes said it is vital that consumers have access to independent information on medicines. This is also important in relation to generic medicines as many still do not understand the difference between original and generic brands.

Dr Weekes said the PRIA award acknowledges the NPS’ strategic approach to promoting the quality use of medicines and providing sound information to healthcare professionals and consumers.

“Winning the award is a great achievement and a recognition of NPS’s commitment to excellence. I am immensely proud of the NPS staff who were involved in the campaign but would also like to acknowledge the pivotal role our partner organisations played in helping us to communicate these important medicines messages,” she said.

The PRIA judges praised the strategic planning and delivery of the components, saying it was an “excellent campaign which had clear, well explained goals and objectives, detailed target publics and good use of research. Evaluation was good and the results were excellent.”

“We received a record number of entries in the Golden Target Awards this year reflecting a high level of quality in Australian Public Relations. The Get to Know Your Medicines campaign reflects the outstanding efforts of the health PR industry in creating awareness and informing Australians of their options,” said Tracy Jones FPRIA, PRIA National President.

The two campaigns were conducted in partnership with the Consumers’ Health Forum of Australia, the Council on the Ageing (COTA), the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA), Medicare Australia and a range of internal working groups comprising consumer, academic and health professionals.

Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign launch

On 27 October National Prescribing Service (NPS) will be launching its Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign, which aims to provide consumers with independent information so they can make an informed choice when it comes to generic medicines.

This multi-faceted campaign, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, includes an integrated series of television commercials, online resources and marketing, in-pharmacy advertising, and a tool kit for community pharmacy staff to support them when discussing generic medicines options with consumers. It also includes a range of community-based activities that will focus on seniors and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The television commercials, which include two 30-second and two 15-second features, will air for two weeks on all commercial stations in regional and metropolitan areas across Australia.

Each commercial features a person discussing generic medicines and the key messages that generic medicines are an equal choice and they contain the same active ingredient. Secondary messages include that generic medicines meet the same Government standards, there are often cost benefits associated with choosing the generic option, and the importance of talking to a doctor or pharmacist about generic medicines.

“The Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign aims to dispel myths that generic medicines work differently to the original brand medicines they replace,” NPS Deputy CEO, Karen Kaye, said.

“As part of Australian Government regulations, the Therapeutic Goods Administration requires generic medicines to be stringently assessed to ensure they contain the same active ingredient as the original brands and that they work in the body in the same way. They also have to meet the same Government standards on how they have been manufactured and packaged.”

When a generic medicine is available and a doctor or pharmacist has decided it is safe for a consumer to switch to the generic brand, it is important the consumer understands what this means.

“Generic medicines do not always look the same as the brand name or other generic brands of the same medicine. They may be a different size, shape or colour. This is because while the active ingredient is the same, the inactive ingredients, for example coatings and binders, may be different, however they do not affect how the medicine works,” Ms Kaye said.

“Some prescription medicines have several different generic brands, and the consumer may not always receive the same one. For this reason it is vital consumers speak to their pharmacist or GP about their medicine so they learn how to identify their medicines. By being familiar with the active ingredient name, consumers are reassured that the medicine they are taking contains the active ingredient their doctor prescribed. From this, consumers can make informed decisions and reduce the risk of potential confusion and medicine misadventure,” she said.

Background information

This campaign is funded by the Australian Government as part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Reforms package, which aims to give Australians continued access to new medicines while ensuring the PBS remains affordable into the future.

The main changes, which came into effect on 1 August 2008, relate specifically to pharmacy and pharmaceutical wholesaler compensation arrangements. As a result it is anticipated consumers will be more frequently offered the generic brand medicine option when getting a prescription dispensed, making it important they have access to information which will help them make an informed decision.

NPS agreed to run this campaign because it ties in neatly with the organisation’s core aims and values, which are to provide accurate, balanced, evidence-based information and services to help people choose if, when and how to use medicines to improve their health and wellbeing.

The NPS campaign aims to ensure people know that a generic medicine contains the same active ingredient as the original brand of medicine and that they know where and how to find accurate information so they can make informed choices about generic medicines.

NPS has provided community pharmacies with resources to assist them in discussing the choices of generic medicines, the active ingredient and the possible cost savings that generic medicines have. This includes new ancillary labels to go on medicine packs once a medicine has been dispensed that state the active ingredient and what brand medicine it replaces.

This campaign launches off the success of 2007 campaigns which won an International Gold Quill Award for Excellence, the 2008 Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) NSW State Award for Excellence and the PRIA National Golden Target Award. NPS is also a finalist in the Marketing Institute of Australia’s Marketing Excellence Awards.  

 

 


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