Medicine safety


noun \ sāf’tē \ the state of being safe; freedom from injury or danger

Medicines have benefits, but they also come with potential risks. These risks can increase when people don’t know their medicines: what they’re taking, why they’re taking it, how to take it, and how it could affect them.

Always follow instructions from your doctor or pharmacist and read the labels and packaging of your medicines carefully.

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A diagram illustrating the range of medicines available and the cost of medication related hospital admissions. There are seven hundred and forty drugs on the PBS, one thousand eight hundred and fifty different forms, three thousand five hundred different brands (footnote one) and one hundred and ninety thousand medication related hospital admissions (footnote two). The cost of these medication related hospital admissions is estimated at six hundred and sixty million dollars and it is estimated that fifty per cent of these admissions are preventable (footnote three). Footnote one. The impact of PBS reform: report to parliament on the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Act 2007. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing, 2010. Footnote two. Roughead EE, Semple SJ. Medication safety in acute care in Australia: where are we now? Part 1: a review of the extent and causes of medication problems 2002-2008. Aust New Zealand Health Policy 2009;6:18. Footnote three. Windows into safety and quality in health care 2011. Sydney: Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, 2011.