The language of medicines

The focus of this year’s Be MedicineWise Week (August 19-25) is on helping people ‘get to know the language of medicine’.

The annual campaign by NPS MedicineWise to raise awareness of the importance of being medicine-wise urges Australians to talk with their doctors or healthcare professionals if there is anything they don’t understand about their medications.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Adj A/Prof Steve Morris says being able to speak with a health professional about medication use and having any medicine-related questions answered is the key to safe and effective use of medicine.   

“We encourage you to ask questions about medicines – whether they are prescribed by a doctor or purchased over the counter,” added Mr Morris. “This will help ensure you have the information you need to get the most out of you medicines safely.”

It’s important though, to know what to ask.

“If you’re not sure what to ask, a handy five questions resource is available in English and now in 12 other languages to help you have that important conversation during your healthcare appointment,” Mr Morris advised.

The questions are:

Do I really need this test, ­­treatment or procedure?

What are the risks?

Are there simpler, safer options?

What happens if I don’t do anything?

What are the costs?

To download the five questions resource, visit –

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