Codeine - NSW ‘go-it-alone’?
A COMBINATION of real-time monitoring and New South Wales ministerial regulation could see the state “go it alone” on allowing pharmacists to supply codeine-containing products under specific conditions, according to Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) NSW Branch president University of Sydney Honorary Professor Peter Carroll.
Carroll has written to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, explaining that concerns about interstate inconsistency need not hinder a local decision to benefit patients, as there are already disparities between different jurisdictions.
Carroll pointed out that even though vaccines are Schedule 4 medicines in all states, NSW regulations allow diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine, as well as influenza vaccine to be administered to patients by approved pharmacists without a prescription under approved protocols and conditions.
In Queensland different arrangements apply, with measles, mumps and rubella vaccine also able to be administered by approved pharmacists.
On, or before 01 Feb the “NSW Health Minister, or any other State Health Minister for that matter, could regulate to mandate real time monitoring of the supply of low dose codeine-containing products in all pharmacies, and allow pharmacists to supply low dose codeine-containing products (up to 3 days’ supply) without a prescription for the treatment of acute, short term pain,” Carroll argued.
The end result would then “be identical to the situation that exists for vaccines,” Carroll added, pleading with Hazzard to “do this in the interests of the hundreds of thousands of people in NSW who use these products safely and appropriately for the short term treatment of acute pain such as migraine, toothache and period pain.”