Patient support programs play key role in health

Patient support programs play a key role in supporting the quality use of medicines and ensuring patients’ health is improved, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said today.

Dr Shaw was responding to recent public criticisms of patient support programs.

“For years, government and other health sector stakeholders have been saying medicines companies should do more to promote the quality use of medicines to patients,” Dr Shaw said.

“These patient support programs respond to those calls.

“Consumers value these programs because they provide information at precisely the time when consumers want to take greater control of their health.

“These programs are provided by prescription medicine companies after a doctor has already prescribed a medicine.

“Programs that help patients understand their condition and better manage their health, or encourage adherence to the medicines they have been prescribed, can be extremely helpful.

“These kinds of programs are common. They are run ethically and play a key role in supporting the quality use of medicines. They complement the important roles of the doctors and pharmacists. They don’t replace them.

Dr Shaw said patient support programs were very different from the offer Blackmores made to pharmacists.

“Patient support programs are not designed to increase sales. They are designed to drive better health outcomes,” Dr Shaw said.

“While there is no cost to patients, there is an administrative task for healthcare professionals to enrol patients in these programs and it’s entirely reasonable that they should be remunerated in a way that’s commensurate with the work undertaken.

“The Medicines Australia Code of Conduct has detailed provisions on how such programs should be administered and recognises that they offer important support to patients, and have an a key role to play in delivering positive health outcomes.”


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