Governments - Commonwealth, States and Territories - health educators, health practitioners, and other healthcare providers and suppliers, the medicines industry, healthcare consumers, and the media recognise the benefits of a National Medicines Policy and resolve to work together as partners to promote the objectives of the policy.
Each partner accepts that all must be engaged in a cooperative endeavour to bring about better health outcomes for all Australians, focusing especially on people’s access to, and wise use of, medicines. The term “medicine” includes prescription and non-prescription medicines, including complementary healthcare products.
Each partner accepts the responsibility to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the policy, drawing on their unique perspectives and abilities. These contributions will require co-ordination and integration with each other to ensure optimal outcomes.
In June 1996, the Council of Australian Governments agreed that systems for health and community services delivery should:
- provide quality care responsive to people’s needs;
- provide incentives for preventive health and cost effective care;
- give better value for taxpayers’ dollars;
- more clearly define roles and responsibilities; and
- retain the benefit of universal access to basic health services through Medicare.
In line with this agreement, the overall aim of the National Medicines Policy is to meet medication and related service needs, so that both optimal health outcomes and economic objectives are achieved.
Based on the shift of emphasis from healthcare program inputs to quality health outcomes, the National Medicines Policy likewise focuses first on people’s needs and brings individual partners’ skills, experience and knowledge to bear on these central 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.
Each partner shares responsibility to various degrees for achieving each of these objectives, and all partners need to consider these central objectives in any relevant initiatives.
This Policy recognises the fundamental role consumers have in reaching these objectives, and there needs to be a commitment from all partners to ensuring consultation with consumer representatives when new arrangements are contemplated.