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Updating medicine ingredient names

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Over the years, some medicine ingredient names in Australia have become out of date. By using old ingredient names, the names of medicine ingredients in Australia are becoming more ‘unique’.

We will be updating some medicine ingredient names used in Australia to align with names used internationally.

Not all medicine ingredient names are changing. A list of medicine ingredient names that will be changing is available at: List of affected ingredients.

There will be a four year transition period for these changes, expected to start from April 2016.

What type of changes?

Some changes are minor, for example changing a ‘y’ to an ‘i’, and will not affect how the ingredient name is pronounced.

Some changes are more significant. For these products, medicine labels will need to use both the old and new ingredient name for an additional three years after the end of the transition period to help consumers and healthcare professionals become familiar with the new name.

For example, medicines containing lignocaine will need to be dual labelled as ‘lidocaine (lignocaine)’.

Working together

We have released this information so health professionals, health educators, consumers, software companies and industry can begin to prepare for the changes.

Providing useful educational material and tools to support the medicine ingredient name changes is important to make sure that medicines continue to be used safely.

We are working with:

  • pharmacists, medical colleges, health professional organisations and consumer groups to inform Australians about these changes.
  • pharmaceutical, health and medication software industry bodies to implement these changes with minimal impact.
  • the National e-Health Transition Authority and government agencies about how these changes will be implemented on health software and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

In early 2016, we will be contacting the sponsors of affected products with information on next steps.

International harmony

  • Over the years, some medicine ingredient names in Australia have become out of date. By using old ingredient names, the names of medicine ingredients in Australia were becoming more ‘unique’.
  • These changes will help align Australian medicine ingredient names with international terminology.
  • Similar harmonisation activities have previously occurred in the United Kingdom (2003) and New Zealand (2008).

Further information

Contact the Project Manager at IHIN@tga.gov.au (link sends e-mail).

(Source: Australian Government- Department of Health)

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Dates

Posted On: 29 December, 2015
Modified On: 19 December, 2015

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