Pharmacy slams codeine clampdown
HEATHCOTE Pharmacy has slammed the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) decision to make the drug codeine prescription-only.
Local pharmacist Caitlyn Clavarino said the decision to prevent painkillers containing codeine, such as Nurofen Plus and Panadeine, from being available over-the-counter will only put more pressure on doctors’ clinics.
She said clinics were already overflowing and labelled it a ‘very multi-layered issue.’
‘‘It takes away the ability of people who need that form of painkiller to access it easily and cheaply without having to go to a doctor,’’ Ms Clavarino said.
She said she doubted making codeine harder to obtain would be the solution and considered the decision made by the TGA too excessive.
‘‘It’s not really addressing the problem that people who are depen- dent on codeine have,’’ Ms Clavarino said.
‘‘Cutting off the supply doesn’t address the issue.’’
The Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPM), Australia’s top pain medicine body, welcomed the decision to make codeine prescription-only, claiming it was a ‘‘victory for scientific evidence and community safety’’.
‘‘Codeine is converted into morphine and people can easily get addicted to it. This may lead to using high doses of combination products that also contain anti-inflammatory drugs or paracetamol,’’ the Dean of the FPM Dr Chris Hayes said.
‘‘This can, in turn, cause problems like liver damage, renal failure and even death.’’
However, Ms Clavarino believed the TGA decision would backfire, saying people who actually rely on it will turn to stronger medication that is available over-the-counter.
‘‘We will see a higher proportion of people using stronger medication compared to if they could access codeine over-the-counter,’’ she said.
‘‘There’s a lot of different types of opiates used to treat long-term chronic conditions. Codeine use is for shortterm pain relief.
‘‘Small doses of codeine in products is not really more effective than nurofen and paracetamol.’’
The change will go into effect early next year.
The new pavilion and change rooms at Heathcote's Barrack Reserve should be completed by the middle of the year.