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Bert Newton Launches Be Medicinewise Week

Today, Bert Newton joins Dr John D’Arcy and NPS MedicineWise to launch Be Medicinewise Week 2013.

Now in its third year, Be Medicinewise Week helps people to make safer and more informed decisions about their medicines and health. This year, the national initiative focuses on Australia’s ageing population.

CEO of NPS MedicineWise, Dr Lynn Weekes, says that being an active partner in your health care and medicines management is especially important for older Australians who tend to suffer more chronic health issues and often need to take multiple medicines.

“Medicines problems are common in older people. One in three unplanned hospital admissions involving older Australians are due to problems with medicines, but half of these could be prevented,” says Dr Weekes.

“Bert Newton is a national icon whose personal health story will ring true for many. With his support, we’re working to build a medicinewise Australia and reduce the number of medicines problems people experience.”

Dr Weekes says that 43 percent of people aged 50 plus take five or more medicines a day, and research released today underscores the importance of the medicinewise movement for Australia’s ageing population.

“While many older Australians are managing multiple medicines, only 55 percent of people surveyed keep a list of their medicines; of those who don’t, 30 percent have no way of keeping track of what they take.

“People aren’t always aware of the risks and benefits of their medicines. One in four people think that prescription medicines rarely or never have side effects and just 20% know that side effects are common for these medicines.”

Be Medicinewise Week ambassador, Bert Newton, says he can relate to the experience of many Australians who’ve suffered chronic health issues and found they’re taking more medicines as they get older.

“There’d be a lot of people who don’t realise that when it comes to taking medicines, they’re not as wise as they should be; I too have had some personal experience of this as the result of my ill health last year,” says Bert.

“I’m in pretty good health now but I had to learn very quickly to keep track of what medicines I’m taking, and why. My advice to people would be: make sure you understand what your medicines are for; know how to take your medicines properly; and seek out advice and information to help you take your medicines safely.

“I’ve had the benefit of a close relationship with a wise doctor, who’s been my GP for the past 30 years. I think it gives you confidence when you understand your medicines as much as you can as a non-medical person.

“Be Medicinewise Week all boils down to some simple but important advice for people in my age group, below it and certainly above it – and I’m right behind it. Take the medicinewise challenge and get medicinewise.”