Successful consumer medicine information campaign pilot

By: Greg Turnbull - Communications Director, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
27 May, 2010

Health care consumers in Canberra have recently received a significant boost to their health literacy as a result of exposure to a pilot campaign which reminded consumers of the importance of being fully informed about medicines, and taking the right medicine at the right time.

The Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) campaign sought to increase the awareness of, and requests for, information about medicines, and to educate patients to "just ask" their community pharmacist.

The Canberra pilot included the distribution of "just ask" materials at shopping centres, radio and print advertising, and mobile truck advertising to drive home the message that it is okay to "just ask" at any time for CMI. The campaign also served as a reminder to pharmacists about the benefits of ensuring that patients receive CMIs in appropriate circumstances.

Research was conducted before and after the two-week trial to measure the success of the "just ask" campaign. The results were extremely positive, with the awareness of the terms CMI or Consumer Medicine Information amongst the research population doubling during the two week campaign.

Ross Gallagher, CEO of stated: "This level of increase in awareness during such a short period of time was an impressive and significant result; and is a clear indication that the campaign was effective in raising awareness of CMI."

Part of the success of the campaign can also be attributed to the high level of support from the pharmacy community. The "just ask" pharmacy bags, posters and flyers were eagerly accepted and used throughout the campaign.

The next stage for this initiative is to seek funding for a national roll out. The campaign development and implementation of the Canberra pilot was funded by, a Pharmacy Guild-owned company which works on behalf of pharmaceutical companies to deliver medicine information to clinicians, pharmacists, publications, compendiums and consumer websites.

The National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Kos Sclavos, is keen to source funding to enable the campaign to be rolled out nationally. He said: "We now have a baseline that shows us how effective this type of communication can be in improving the health literacy of consumers. If we roll this out nationally, we are confident that we will be rewarded with even greater results."

Source: The Pharmacy Guild of Australia