ASMI demonstrates new consumer communication model for S3 medicines at its conference

11 November 2015

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Today at its annual conference in Sydney the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) shared a 'sample mock ad', which demonstrated the proposed consumer communication model it has been advocating for Schedule 3 (S3) products. A fictitious brand was created in an existing S3 category that cannot be advertised - "Brand FAM" (Famciclovir) for cold sore treatment.


Current restrictions on the advertising of S3 medicines limit consumer awareness of treatments available without a prescription. This means consumers may continue to consult GPs for conditions which could be safely managed by pharmacists.


The alternate S3 consumer communication model was developed by ASMI in consultation with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.


The model creates consumer awareness about S3 medicines in a structured, balanced and responsible way.


The 'mock' S3 advertisement exhibited at ASMI's Conference today is an example of this new advertising approach being advocated for S3's as part of broader advertising reform.


Filomena Maiese, ASMI Marketing and Business Development Director, said: "We are very excited about this new style of advertising, which emphasises the importance of the pharmacist in counselling and determining what the most appropriate therapeutic options are available to consumers.


"It is different to conventional consumer advertising of Pharmacy Medicines in Schedule 2 (S2) and unscheduled medicines as the brand awareness component takes a secondary role to the educational aspects of the communication.


"This new model aims to shift the emphasis to the provision of symptom-related and/or disease-state related information together with the requirement for counselling by a pharmacist," she explained.


The new model contains three key elements:

  • information about the condition and symptoms
  • emphasis on the role of the pharmacist in determining whether a medicine is appropriate for a particular condition and for a particular consumer
  • branded product information - scientific, balanced, factual information about the product.

"The impact of this proposed communication approach on consumers, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants is being tested by the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE) at the University of Technology, Sydney.


"This testing aims to measure the impact of S3 consumer communication on healthcare outcomes, with research results expected in the first half of next year," she added.