New campaign urges people to Take 3 Minutes to get full benefit of medicines

News Category: -none-

Date: 19/09/2016


  • One in four people (23%) don’t read the information that comes with their medicine.
  • One in eight people (13%) have taken a prescription medicine not prescribed for them.


    HPRA and Min Harris urge people to read medicine info-9

A national public information campaign to raise awareness of the safe and effective use of medicines was unveiled today. The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) initiative advises the public that to get the most benefit from their medicine, they should take the time to always read the information printed on the packaging and/or the product leaflet. This information includes essential details such as the correct dose, instructions for use and potential side effects. Entitled ‘For the full benefit, Take three minutes’, this first ever campaign undertaken by the HPRA was launched by Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, and will run for six weeks across national and regional radio, digital and print media from today. 


To coincide with the campaign, the HPRA released details of a new national survey* that examines consumers’ habits and attitudes towards medicine information. It reveals that:


  • One in four people (23%) do not read the information that comes with their     medicine.
  • A quarter of people (26%) don’t read the directions for use.
  • One third of people (35%) do not read the information relating to the potential side effects of their medicine.
  • One in five (20%) take a prescription medicine for a shorter period than that directed by their doctor.
  • One in eight adults (13%) admit to taking a prescription medicine that was not prescribed for them specifically, while this figure rises to almost one in five (18%) of 25-34 year olds.


Minister Harris today expressed his support for the new information campaign by the HPRA.  The campaign focuses on encouraging people to take medicines safely.   It encourages the public to read the information leaflet when taking any medicine, and to make sure they know the correct dose to take. 


Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Minister Harris said “It is extremely important for anyone taking a medicine that they carefully read the instructions for use. This information is provided with every medicine and following the instructions will ensure that patients get the best results.  It only takes three minutes to make sure you’re fully informed and, that you’re doing the right thing for your own health and peace of mind.”


According to Ms Lorraine Nolan, Chief Executive of the HPRA, it is important that people take the time to better inform themselves about their medication.


“Medicines can help us to live longer and healthier lives but for the safest and most beneficial outcome, people need to inform themselves about the correct dose, the directions for use and the known side effects. Our research tells us that people who read this information spend about three minutes doing so. Our campaign aims to encourage more people to always take those three minutes whether they are taking medication themselves or giving it to someone in their care.  If people have any questions or concerns, they should always consult their doctor or pharmacist,” Ms Nolan says.

The HPRA states that its ongoing research programme shows a worrying downward trend in the number of consumers not reading medicine information - be it with over-the-counter or prescription only medicines. One in four (26%) of adults admit that they never read product information for an over-the-counter medicine, with one in five (21%) never reading information for a prescription only medicine - a rise from 14% and 12% respectively since the same survey was conducted in 2010.


Ms Nolan concludes that the HPRA campaign is intended to help address this decline with better informed consumers leading to improved adherence, better individual outcomes and, ultimately, improved public health.


“Even if someone is taking a specific medicine regularly over a long period of time we would recommend they still read the product information on a regular basis. Significant details such as the contraindications or potential side effects can change from time to time so it is important that those on long-term medication keep themselves informed,” Ms Nolan concludes.


The HPRA has a suite of advisory leaflets for consumers on a range of health products. Its leaflet How to Take Medicines Safely can be downloaded from the HPRA website.


The creative for the HRPA’s campaign was devised by Cawley Nea\TBWA with media buying undertaken by Mindshare. Read more about the campaign here




For Further Information


  • Weber Shandwick(01) 679 8600
  • Siobhan Molloy / Rachel Galligan 086 817 5066 / 087 791 9901


The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) protects and enhances public health and animal health by regulating medicines, medical devices and other health products. The products under its remit include human and veterinary medicines, medical devices, blood and blood components, tissues and cells, organs for transplantation and cosmetics. Formerly known as the Irish Medicines Board (IMB), it became the Health Products Regulatory Authority on 1 July 2014.

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