The Australian Government Department of Health has opened a public consultation on the review of the National Medicines Policy (NMP).

The NMP is a statement of principles designed to guide the range of activities encompassing medication management, access and affordability of medicines in Australia through a partnership approach between all sectors.

As part of the review, the Expert Advisory Committee is seeking feedback on a number of proposals, including the possibility of expanding the definition of medicine under the NMP to include medical devices and vaccines.

CreakyJoints Australia, together with our parent non-profit organisation, Global Healthy Living Foundation Australia (GHLF Australia) will be submitting our feedback for the review and we’d like to include your comments. Read on for further information then email your comments to us no later than 12 pm on Thursday 7 October.

What the review could mean to you

Changes to the existing National Medicines Policy could:

  • Help pharmaceutical companies provide you with clearer information on how to use your medications;
  • Make it easier for new medications to be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme;
  • Expand the scope of the NMP to include vaccines and medical devices such as blood pressure monitors or biologic medication self-injection devices;
  • Expand the scope of the NMP to include digital health technologies such as online health records and electronic prescriptions;
  • Pave the way for health policies to enable consumers to become more active and informed participants in their care and broader health policy; and much more.

What is the National Medicines Policy?

The NMP is a statement of principles designed to guide the range of activities encompassing medication management, access and affordability of medicines in Australia through a partnership approach between all sectors.

Published in 2000, the NMP is a well-established framework to promote four objectives:

  • Timely access to the medicines that Australians need, at a cost individuals and the community can afford:
  • Medicines meeting appropriate standards of quality, safety and efficacy;
  • Quality use of medicines; and
  • Maintaining a responsible and viable medicines industry.

The NMP is not prescriptive about the programs and processes used to deliver these four objectives. While the objectives of the NMP continue to resonate today, the landscape in which the policy operates has changed significantly with rapid therapeutic and technological innovations which have expanded treatment options for patients and increased their complexity.

Why does the NMP need to be reviewed?

The NMP has influenced a number of important strategies, frameworks and programs developed since its publication. However, feedback suggests the review may need to consider modifying and/or including additional objectives such as the centricity of the consumer, transparency and equity and the relationship with the policy enablers (health literacy, implementation and communication strategies and performance measures). This feedback has been incorporated into the following Terms of Reference for the Review.

Terms of Reference

This is a high-level review aimed at identifying any gaps in the NMP’s objectives, partnership approach and accountabilities. The review of the NMP will:

  1. Evaluate the current NMP objectives and determine whether these should be modified or additional objectives included. This includes consideration of the proposed principles to be included within the NMP.
  2. Consider the definition of medicines and whether the NMP needs to be expanded to include health technologies.
  3. Assess the NMP’s utility in the context of rapidly evolving treatments options, population changes, interconnected relationships and system-wide capacities.
  4. Consider the centricity of the consumer within the NMP and whether it captures the diversity of consumers’ needs and expectations.
  5. Identify options to improve the NMP’s governance; communications, implementation (including enablers) and evaluation.
  6. Review the NMP partners and provide options for building greater accountability including addressing conflicts of interest.

The review will be inclusive of the community and supported by a consultation process that ensures the diversity of stakeholders and consumers are captured, including a call for public submissions and a stakeholder forum. The review process is anticipated to take approximately six months.

Discussion Paper

The Expert Advisory Committee has prepared a discussion paper to provide context for the review and to encourage consideration of the issues the review could address. You can view and download a copy of the discussion paper here:—discussion-paper.pdf

What we’d like you to do

  1. Please refer to the section Themes and questions relating to the Terms of Reference starting from page 7 of the discussion paper.
  2. Read through the explanation of each of the Terms of Reference and consider the questions posed at the end of each one.
  3. Decide if you wish to comment on all or some of the questions.
  4. Type your comments and send them to us. You can do this by:
    Typing your comments into a Word document and attaching that to your email OR
    2. Typing your comments directly into your email.
  5. Ensure you have clearly noted which question(s) you are commenting on. For example, Terms of Reference 1 – Question A. Your comments can be as simple as a few bullet points or as long as a few pages.

How to submit your feedback to us

Please email your comments to Rosemary Ainley at no later than 12 pm on Thursday 7 October.

We will collate your replies into a single submission and send it to the Expert Advisory Committee on your behalf.

If you wish to make your own submission directly to the Expert Advisory Committee you can do so. You will find instructions for this within the discussion paper document.


Kind regards,

The CreakyJoints Australia and GHLF Australia teams