November 26, 2004

Drugs Details Online

INFORMATION ON every prescribed drug will be published on a nurseled website to help patients keep informed about their treatment.

NHS Direct is working in partnership with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on the project. The Medicines Information Project will be rolled out over the next three years and hold details of 3,000 drugs.

Data on 64 drugs for epilepsy and flu are already attracting 25,000 hits a month. A further 27 drugs to lower cholesterol went up on the website on November 1 to coincide with Ask About Medicines Week.

Joanne Shaw, chair of the project, said the initiative had been set up after research found that 44 per cent of people who have been prescribed a new medicine say they do not know enough about other possible medicines or treatments. One in three people say there is not enough information available about the risks and benefits of medicines.

Ms Shaw added: 'We need to ensure that people have the best possible information to make informed choices.'

The information provided on would ultimately let patients be better informed and allow them more say in their own care, she said.

* A dedicated NHS Direct line has been set up for Ask About Medicines Week, which runs until November 6. Callers from England who dial 0845 850 2878 will be able to obtain information on medicines.

Copyright RCN Publishing Company Ltd. Nov 3-Nov 9, 2004