14 March 2017

Bayer, GSK to quit codeine market

KnowCents Pharmaceuticals


Pharma giants Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Glaxosmithkline have revealed plans to pull out of the Australian codeine combination-analgesic market following the rescheduling of these products.

Starting next February, the TGA will classify all codeine-containing analgesics as S4, meaning patients will require a doctor’s prescription to buy them.

“Based on this we have taken the decision not to move our codeine-containing analgesics (Panafen Plus, Panadeine, Panadeine Rapid Soluble and Panadeine Extras) from S3 OTC to S4 prescription only medicines,” GSK said in a statement.

“This means that they will no longer be available in the Australian market.”

Bayer has announced it will do the same, telling Pharma In Focus that “the up-scheduling affected our cold and flu products and these will be deleted post 1 February, 2018”.

Bayer said it would reformulate its Demazin PE Cold and Flu Relief, Demazin Cold and Flu Day and Night Relief and Demazin Day and Night Cold and Flu tablets so they did not contain codeine.

Bayer and GSK appear to be the only two companies planning to leave the Australian market at this stage, with Sanofi saying its codeine-containing painkiller Mersyndol will remain available.

Mylan and Johnson & Johnson Pacific have also made a commitment to continue selling their combination products here.

Speaking at the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference earlier this month, Pharmacy Guild president George Tambassis said the group was working with the TGA to ensure patients that needed these medicines would still have access.