Be Medicinewise 2018 – Our Families Matter

With an estimated 9 million Australians taking prescription medicine every day and more than 230,000 Australians hospitalised each year with problems caused by their medicine, it is more important than ever for consumers to be equipped with the right information and resources regarding their medication.

Introduced in 2011 as the launch event for the Be Medicinewise campaign, Be Medicinewise Week is an annual, national awareness week that promotes the safer and wiser use of medicines. This year Be Medicinewise week will be from 20–26 August, with the theme ‘Medicinewise families’, encouraging Australian families to make good decisions about medicines, medical tests and other health choices.

When medicines are a part of your life, maintaining a medicine schedule can sometimes be challenging. Starting a new medication may be confusing, and research has shown that people can be nervous or embarrassed about asking questions about their medication.

As part of Be Medicinewise week, NPS Medicinewise is promoting the Choosing Wisely Australia resource “5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider before you get any tests, treatment or procedure”. The resource promotes conversations about what care is needed, to support better decisions.

Another resource that helps keep track of important information is the free MedicineWise smartphone app, which helps people take charge of their medicines. Encouraging patients to use the app is a great way for health professionals to facilitate medicinewise behaviour for both this Be Medicinewise Week campaign and beyond.

By supporting Be Medicinewise Week, you will be able to generate conversations that inspire frequent and occasional medicine users alike to be confident about asking questions regarding their medicines, to seek out evidence-based information and to follow the right advice to get the most benefit from their prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines.

There are several ways you can support the NPS Medicinewise campaign and get involved in Be Medicinewise Week:

  • Share materials and resources from the Be Medicinewise Week campaign toolkit
  • Support the campaign through social media by using the #BeMedicinewise hashtag. Use the social media guide in the toolkit for suggested social media posts
  • Host your own Be Medicinewise Week event at your workplace

Run by independent, not-for-profit and evidence-based organisation NPS Medicinewise, and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, Be Medicinewise week reminds us of the importance of taking charge of our own health by asking the right questions of the right people and following the right advice. To learn more about Be Medicinewise Week and support the campaign, visit



About the author

Leanne Wells

Leanne Wells

Leanne was Chief Executive of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia from 2014 until August 2022