The story in the Guardian online today reveals that in Australia there is a move to restrict codeine based medicines to prescription only stopping the purchase of medicines like Neurofen Plus or Panadeine Extra in the pharmacy. The system in Australia has is very similar to the UK, however this is not the case in every country some have these stricter regulations. In the USA you cannot purchase any codeine medicines the only way you can get codeine based medicines is with a prescription.
Doctors in Australia said the move was a sensible approach to reduce the number of Australians addicted to the narcotic, which is found in low doses in popular painkillers. But pharmacists said the plan, recommended by the nation’s medicines regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), would clog up GP clinics and increase health costs, without effectively identifying addicts. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia said the move would inconvenience the vast majority of Australians whose use of codeine-containing drugs available over the counter was responsible.
This week the TGA made an interim recommendation to make such drugs prescription-only to combat rising addiction rates and other serious health risks associated with the opioid. A final decision will be made in November, with a view to moving to prescriptions by 1 June, 2016 at the earliest. The pharmacy guild accepted the need for action on codeine addiction, but said there were better ways to do so.