Helping people in CALD communities understand active ingredients

Paul Hayes

6/05/2021 2:10:57 PM

New resources have been developed to help people in culturally and linguistically diverse communities better understand their medications.

Woman checking medicine ingredients
Medication-related information can be ‘complex and overwhelming’ for people from CALD backgrounds.

Patients can find navigating medicines’ active ingredients challenging in the best circumstances, but the process be especially difficult for people in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
With more than a third of Australians aged 65 and older having been born overseas, this is a particularly relevant area for the country’s healthcare professionals.
As such, NPS MedicineWise is encouraging those healthcare professionals, including GPs, who work with people who read Arabic, simplified and traditional Chinese, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese to download its new fact sheet to help people understand why the information on their prescription now looks different.
‘Our new multilingual fact sheet explains what an active ingredient is and how it differs from the brand name,’ GP and NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr Anna Samecki said.
‘It also explains what a generic medicine is and how it is just as safe and effective as a brand medicine containing the same active ingredient.’
According to NPS MedicineWise, people from CALD backgrounds often find medication-related information ‘complex and overwhelming’ and research has found people from this cohort experience higher rates of adverse outcomes due to poor medication management.
Since 1 February 2021, listing the active ingredient has been mandatory for all Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (RPBS) prescriptions, with a small number of exceptions.
‘The active ingredient fact sheet explains the changes people may have noticed with their prescriptions and explains why knowing the active ingredient of a medicine is so important,’
Dr Samecki said.
The fact sheets come at a time when people in CALD communities may be vulnerable to health and medication mismanagement.
‘We are very concerned for CALD patients who may be avoiding important medical appointments due to fear of COVID-19,’ Dr Kate Walker, Chair of RACGP Specific Interests Refugee Health, previously told newsGP.
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