Celebrating 20 years: 1998-2018

2018 marked 20 years since the establishment of NPS MedicineWise as National Prescribing Service Limited.

Celebrating 20 years

2018 marked 20 years since the establishment of NPS MedicineWise as National Prescribing Service Limited. It is a great opportunity to reflect on and celebrate two decades of leading quality use of medicines and better health decision making.

Our journey

In the 1990s, Australia was one of the few developed countries with a comprehensive national medicines policy, due in large part to a very strong consumer movement. At the core of this policy is the concept of quality use of medicines—medicines use that is judicious, appropriate, safe and effective.

NPS MedicineWise began as an independent public company in March 1998. While largely funded by the Australian Government, we operate with an independent governance structure and have member organisations representing the peak bodies for consumers, health professionals, the pharmaceutical sector, government and health care providers. This model has allowed us to work in synergistic, connected and collaborative ways across the health sector to improve health outcomes.

Driving change in practice nationwide: a model that works

From the outset NPS MedicineWise has looked to the evidence and developed strong relationships with general practitioners around Australia. In 1999 NPS MedicineWise began peer educational visiting to GPs. Over 300,000 educational visits have been conducted by our field force bringing about positive differences to prescribing decisions.

What we’ve achieved

The first NPS News was published in 1998: today Medicinewise News, RADAR and Australian Prescriber are essential reading for health professionals.

Since 2009, we have extended our evidence-based approach to improving decision making around medicines and medical tests and other technologies. Our first medical test program—on imaging for low back pain—rolled out nationally in 2010 and since then thousands of health professionals have participated in our medical test programs.

Medimate was launched in 2004 as a paper based resource to help consumers understand and ask questions about their medicines. Today, the same concepts are encapsulated in our MedicineWise app

Launched in 2015, Choosing Wisely Australia—facilitated by NPS MedicineWise and led by Australia’s medical colleges and societies—is encouraging a national conversation and providing a catalyst for reducing low-value health care in Australia.

Our MedicineInsight primary care clinical data program provides valuable insights into primary health care. Insights from the data enhance our programs for general practice, provide post-marketing surveillance of medicines, and support policy makers, regulators and health service providers to develop evidence-based health policy and achieve optimal patient outcomes.

We offer a wide range of online courses for students and health professionals attracting thousands of participants each year.

Our commitment to preventing antibiotic resistance continues with ongoing campaigns and activities including support for the WHO-led international Antibiotic Awareness Week. Our efforts to educate health professionals and the community are starting to show results and we have seen a reduction in antibiotic prescribing for upper respiratory tract infections.

20 years of impact

From a small startup in 1998, NPS MedicineWise has grown into an organisation of almost 300 staff, including a field force of Clinical Service Specialists (CSS) located throughout Australia.

Since the publication of our first evaluation report in 1999, our programs have continued to be rigorously evaluated with our evaluation framework. We have been able to measure health outcomes and effectiveness, while continuing to demonstrate changes in drug and medical test utilisation in line with quality use.

You can read our latest evaluation report below.


Special thanks

Over the past 20 years NPS MedicineWise has been privileged to work with so many of our member organisations and partners to Australia’s National Medicines Policy to improve the use of medicines and medical tests for better health and economic outcomes for all Australians. To our members, our main funder the Australian Government Department of Health, the many individuals and champions of quality use of medicines who have contributed their time and expertise to our establishment and our programs, our partners and collaborators, and our customers, we extend our gratitude as we celebrate this milestone. Thank you for coming on this journey with us.

We look forward to continuing to support Australians to make the best decisions about medicines, medical tests and other health choices.