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NPS MedicineWise to ‘cease operations’ at the end of 2022


Matt Woodley


14/09/2022 5:00:43 PM

The confirmation comes after a Federal Government decision to proceed with a plan to cut the organisation’s funding.

Collecting medicine from pharmacy shelves
Existing functions carried out by NPS MedicineWise will likely transfer to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

NPS MedicineWise will wind up at the end of the year, its Board has confirmed.
 
The company, which has been in existence for 24 years and relied on Federal Government support, had its funding cut in the March 2022 Budget as part of a redesign of the Quality Use of Therapeutics, Diagnostics and Pathology (QUTDP) Program.
 
But while there was some hope of a reprieve, Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler recently decided to proceed with the plan following a ‘rapid review’ of the Budget measure by Deloitte Access Economics.
 
According to an NPS MedicineWise release, the organisation’s closure will have ‘significant’ implications for the quality use of medicines in Australia.
 
‘Since its inception in 1998, NPS MedicineWise has provided national leadership, education and resources on the quality use of medicines and medicines safety in Australia, working closely with health professionals, consumers and the broader health sector,’ it stated. 
 
‘NPS MedicineWise’s programs and resources reach all GPs and one-third of residential aged care facilities across Australia, and have made significant and demonstrable improvements to the health of Australians – including through reducing medicines harm, cancers, strokes and other major cardiovascular events.
 
‘Recent programs on heart failure, mental health and young people, anticholinergics and falls in older people and chronic kidney disease are amongst the most valued and impactful programs that NPS MedicineWise has delivered.’ 
 
Under the restructure, existing functions carried out by NPS MedicineWise will transfer either to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) or to new contestable funding arrangements.
 
‘The redesigned program will include additional funding of $3.9 million to support more activities to boost confidence and knowledge about using medicines and diagnostics tests safely and effectively, both for consumers and healthcare providers,’ a spokesperson for Minister Butler previously told newsGP.
 
‘These activities will be sourced through open, competitive application processes.
 
‘The independent review supported proceeding with the reforms.’
 
With just over 100 days between now and the end of December, the company has indicated it will focus on the ‘responsible’ transfer of its functions with the ACSQHC and the Department of Health and Aged Care, as well as ensuring the ‘best outcome’ for its 170 staff.
 
‘This is an extremely sad and challenging time for our organisation, and the end of an era for many,’ CEO Katherine Burchfield said.
 
‘We have an exceptional team … [and] over the years, NPS MedicineWise has become a valued “go-to” resource for health professionals and consumers in the quality use of medicines.
 
‘Our priority from here is to support our people and ensure the smooth and effective transfer of our functions and capability so that, wherever possible, they are retained for the continued benefit of the health sector.
 
‘It is hard not to see this decision as a backwards step.’
 
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Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care NPS MedicineWise


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newsGP weekly poll Which public health issue will most significantly impact general practice in Australia in the next 10–20 years?

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