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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2005 Jan;59(1):112-6.

National Prescribing Service: creating an implementation arm for national medicines policy.

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National Prescribing Service, 418A Elizabeth Street, Level 7, Surry Hills 2010, Australia.


Medicines make an essential contribution to the health of the community, but rapidly rising drug budgets have caused governments to seek ways of ensuring this expenditure results in value for money. The National Prescribing Service was established against this background to implement a quality use of medicines service as part of the National Medicines Policy. A range of programmes that attempt to use evidence-based strategies to deliver evidence-based messages have been established. These use multifaceted interventions, such as newsletters, prescriber feedback, clinical audit and educational visiting, that are provided both centrally, through the national office, and locally, through Divisions of General Practice. The work is underpinned by an evaluation strategy that incorporates strong qualitative elements as well as an emphasis on time-series analyses for changes in drug utilization. Some 80% of Australian general practitioners have voluntarily participated in activities such as educational visiting and clinical audit within the National Prescribing Service programmes. New programmes for the community and consumers will be coordinated with the work that has become well established within general practice.

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