Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Health literacy overlooked

While welcoming key budget measures in health, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has called for more to be done on health literacy and increasing access to medicines.

ASMI says preventive health, physical activity and healthy eating are key pillars of greater self care and, while greater investment and focus on these areas is welcomed, more needs to be done.

“ASMI is disappointed that health literacy is not a major focus of this budget given that 60 per cent of Australians have less than adequate health literacy levels,” the organisation said. “Greater health literacy empowers Australian consumers and leads to greater self care.

“It is promising that there is additional funding for medical research, and ASMI will be advocating for research projects that build the evidence-base for self care to be included within its scope.”

ASMI says it welcomes a focus on the safety and quality use of medicines in aged care and supports the trial placement of part-time pharmacists in ACT aged care homes.

ASMI recognise pharmacists play a key role in the quality use of medicines by Australians. The government’s announcement that they will provide additional support to pharmacies to help people manage their medication is welcomed and should include a focus on health literacy.

Following the government’s announcement of measures to improve access to medicines, ASMI said: “A key element of this, in our opinion, is the provision of data protection for ‘switch’ applications to increase access to medicines. We will continue to advocate for the greater incentivisation of ‘switch’ applications on behalf of the consumer healthcare products industry.”

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