Active Ingredient Prescribing
Active ingredient prescribing aims to improve the safe and quality use of medicines by increasing consumers and prescribers understanding of the active ingredients in medicines.
2023 transition arrangements
From 1 January 2023, ongoing maintenance of active ingredient prescribing, including operations and curation of resources, will transition from the Commission to the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department). Please see the Department's active ingredient prescribing webpage for more information.
From 1 January 2023, please direct all enquiries relating to active ingredient prescribing to email@example.com.
Commission curated active ingredient prescribing resources were last updated in December 2022.
The following resources were developed by the Commission to support clinicians with active ingredient prescribing.
Safer insulin prescribing
Insulins are high-risk medicines with a high incidence of medication error and related harm if the incorrect insulin is inadvertently prescribed, dispensed and administered. Prescriptions should include both the insulin brand name and active ingredient name to support safer product identification and selection. This factsheet highlights the importance of including the insulin brand name, as well as other critical elements for safer insulin prescribing.
Background and implementation
Active ingredient prescribing aims to improve safe and quality use of medicines with consistent and standardised descriptions of medicines; increase consumer health literacy around their medicines; and promote the uptake of generic and biosimilar medicines, as described in the Australian Government’s 2018-19 Budget.
From 1 February 2021 most prescriptions for supply under the PBS and the RPBS must describe the medicine by active ingredient name to be eligible for subsidy.
Prescribing using the active ingredient name is safe in the majority of prescribing situations where available brands are therapeutically equivalent. A set of principles determine the limited, but clinically important exceptions to this approach; particularly important for some high-risk medicines and/or for high-risk consumers. The principles of active ingredient prescribing extend to all prescriptions, including private prescriptions.