10 August 2017

AMA hits out over Guild’s codeine campaign

AMA Drugs Pharmacy

The AMA has reiterated its support for the TGA’s decision to make codeine a prescription-only medicine from February next year, as the Pharmacy Guild ramps up its campaign to relax the prescribing rules.

 AMA President Dr Michael Gannon said it was essential for public safety that the TGA was allowed to make evidence-based decisions about medicines, free from political interference and sectional interests.

 “There is compelling evidence to support the decision to make codeine prescription only,” Dr Gannon said.

 “Deaths and illness from codeine use have increased in Australia.

 “This is despite a rescheduling decision in 2010 shifting many over-the-counter codeine medicines to Schedule 3, which is pharmacist only.”

 The Pharmacy Guild is seeking an exception to codeine up-scheduling so that patients could continue to access codeine for the temporary relief of acute pain from their pharmacist in accordance with a strict protocol, which would include the mandatory use of real time recording.

 “It’s time for the AMA to put commonsense and patients before tired old turf wars,” Guild President George Tambassis said.

 The AMA said it urged all stakeholders not to deviate from the TGA decision, which was made with open and transparent consultation.

 “At this stage, we do not want to see the peddling of alternative models, dressed up as ‘patient concern’, which undermine the TGA position,” Dr Gannon said.

 “We are extremely concerned at recent reports of some groups endeavouring to influence or coerce State governments to change, delay, or dilute the impact of the TGA decision.”