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The change to current access arrangements for low-dose codeine has implications for pharma...
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Change in Codeine Access Highlights Need for Implementing the National Pain Strategy
The change to current access arrangements for low-dose codeine has implications for pharmacists, GPs and consumers including people using codeine medications for chronic pain.
Pharmacists will be able to recommend alternative medicines however these will not always be helpful to many people, while options for non-pharmacological treatments (allied health) are not available in many areas and may not be affordable because of inadequate Medicare and Private Health rebates and distance from services.
"This is a perfect opportunity for the Federal Government to show leadership on a national pain strategy," said Painaustralia CEO Lesley Brydon.
"The problem of chronic pain and over-reliance on painkillers will not disappear by removing a group of medications from over-the-counter sales.
We need to ensure people with chronic pain are being supported with bestpracticecare nationally."
The move also emphasises the need for real-time prescription monitoring across Australia and we welcome moves by the government to do this.
MedsASSIST, developed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to monitor sales of medicines containing codeine and help reduce misuse, has shown the potential of a recording system aligned with appropriate pain management support pathways.
MedsASSIST has been supported by the Minister for Health Greg Hunt, who intervened to keep it operational until 1 February 2018, after the Guild had announced its closure.