No prescription, no painkillers

Over-the-counter painkillers could soon be available by prescription-only.

Over-the-counter painkillers could soon be available by prescription-only after reports of misuse, addiction and death have been attributed to the drugs.

An Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling held by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in July will determine whether common 'Schedule 3' painkillers such as Nurofen Plus and Panadeine will be classified as 'Schedule 4' drugs.

If the proposal goes forward, about 150 codeine medicines may become unavailable to Australians and require a prescription from a doctor.

Although most Australians follow instructions and use painkillers in recommended amounts, doctors say an increasing number of people are over-medicating and causing themselves harm. Codeine-ibuprofen medicines such as Nurofen Plus, can cause severe gastrointestinal damage and internal bleeding if misused. In severe cases, they can also cause death.

Some codeine addicts have reportedly been known to visit multiple pharmacies in order to avoid restrictions, in place since 2010, that are designed to restrict purchases of more than five days' supply of the drug at one time.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Pharmacy Guild Australia disagree with the proposal. They say that the government should do more to monitor the sale of the drugs in order to detect people abusing them. Pharmacy Guild Australia’s Victorian president, Anthony Tassone said that the proposal won’t solve any problems, rather it “just shifts the problem” onto doctors.

Medicines affected by the change would be painkillers used to cure common pain such as headaches, toothaches and period pain. Painkillers that may be included are, Codral Original Cold and Flu Tablets, Aspalgin Soluble tablets and Mersyndol Tablets.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    28th Apr 2015
    Some GPs tell their patients that they can be bought over the counter and in some cases are cheaper bought over the counter than if on presecription
    28th Apr 2015
    And bet your bottom dollar they will not be allowed to prescribe for you unless you have had ALL the VACCINATIONS our despot has decided the great unwashed must have. Of course his family are excempt.
    Not Amused
    28th Apr 2015
    The vast majority of consumers probably do not abuse stronger painkillers. One minute the government is discouraging costly doctor visits, the next they are saying go to the doctor if you need something a bit stronger than paracetamol. Pain killer purchases can easily be tracked (driver's licence, Medicare card) and where there is pharmacist doubt, consumers can be put on notice.
    28th Apr 2015
    You do realise that for a GP to prescribe paracetamol and for the pharmacist to dispense it, the concession holder to pay for it actually costs not the $2 per hundred you can get over the counter but $50 to pay for all that handling. That is what is driving the change here.

    And Its not just things like paracetamol that will no longer be prescribed. Normal purchases such as dandruff shampoo (!) won't be either. Why it ever was is ridiculous.
    28th Apr 2015
    Time for the Linked Thumb Print Meter in the Chemist !! :-)
    Chemist.. "No You just got some down the other Chemist! Get out of here :-( "
    Golden Oldie
    29th Apr 2015
    Big Brother is watching. If most people use them wisely, why should they be inconvienced by having to get a doctors prescription for medicines for minor aches and pains. I thought doctors were overworked now, which is why we need to make appointments to see them and still need to wait before they are free. add the cost of a doctors consultation to the small packet of painkillers, and the price becomes ridiculous, and you will need repeats as well if you happen to have a cold, the flu, or a muscle spasm in your back, as the packets contents have been reduced so much, that one packet will not last the time of need.
    29th Apr 2015
    You'll have to get a Prescription for "SMARTIES" next !! :-)

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