Dr Andrew Rochford Discusses Online Safety & Digital Health Updates



Dr Andrew Rochford is one of Australia’s most popular media personalities and medical health experts. An authoritative voice on current health practices, especially preventative health, digital health innovation, mental health. Andrew speaks to Gman about Safer Internet Day 2021 – ‘Start the chat about online safety’ and What is active ingredient prescribing. Supported by millions of people in over 170 countries, Safer Internet Day's aim is to “start the chat about online safety”. All Australians are encouraged to help improve online safety at work, at home and within their communities and make every day a Safer Internet Day.


Active ingredient prescribing requires doctors to include active ingredient names on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation PBS (RPBS) prescriptions. This will help consumers understand the medicines they are taking. From 1 February 2021, prescriptions will include the active ingredients in medicines and may also include the brand names. Active Ingredient Prescribing is part of an ongoing program of measures to support medicines safety, convenience and price - with previous initiatives including the Pharmacist Shared Medicines List and electronic prescriptions.

What is an active ingredient? Active ingredients are the ingredients in medicines that have an effect in the body. Examples include paracetamol, ibuprofen and insulin. The benefits to patients of active ingredient prescribing include: - a better understanding of the active ingredients in their medicines - assisting conversations about generic alternatives - decreasing out-of-pocket expenses with generic and biosimilar medicines - reducing the risk of patients taking multiple doses of medicines. If needed, your GP can prescribe a specific brand. If not, the pharmacist will offer you a choice and the best priced option. Talk to your GP or pharmacist if you want to know more.


Can my doctor and I still choose specific brands? Yes, doctors can still include a brand name on the prescription if they believe it is clinically necessary. Consumers will still be able to choose the brand they want when they get their medicines from their pharmacy.

Are generic medicines safe? Yes. The Therapeutic Goods Administration carefully assess each generic medicine before it can be sold in Australia. Tests ensure it is safe and has the same effect as the original brand.

Are there any exceptions to the new rules? The Department of Health has changed legislation to require the inclusion of active ingredients on all PBS and RPBS prescriptions, except for: • Handwritten prescriptions; • • Paper based medication charts in the residential aged care sector; • • Medicinal items with four or more active ingredients; and • • Other items excluded for safety or practicality reasons. The new legislative requirements for PBS prescriptions are mandatory from 1 February 2021. From this date, all eligible PBS and RPBS prescriptions will need to include the active ingredient, followed by brand if the prescriber believes it is clinically necessary. Consumers will start to notice active ingredient information on their PBS and RPBS prescriptions over the coming months. Andrew’s television roles have included appearances on Channel’s Nine’s The Block, National Health Editor of Channel Seven’s News and panelist on The Project (Channel 10). As co-host of Channel 10’s primetime quiz show, Pointless, he has appeared on screens five nights a week.