ASMI calls for a package of targeted measures for OTC codeine medicines
The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said proposed changes to the scheduling of over-the-counter (OTC) codeine-containing medicines will not adequately address issues of misuse and addiction. Instead, a package of targeted measures, including a mandatory real-time monitoring system, could potentially find the correct balance between the risks and benefits of access for the vast majority of consumers who use these medicines safely and effectively.
In its supplementary submission to the Federal Government, ASMI argued for the deferment of the decision on the scheduling of OTC codeine medicines for 12 months to allow time for the implementation and impact assessment of a real-time monitoring system in community pharmacy.
Steve Scarff, ASMI Director Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, said: "A real time monitoring system would help pharmacists to determine if the supply of a medicine is appropriate. The system would assist pharmacists to identify at-risk consumers, facilitate access to education materials and support referral to a pain specialist when necessary.
"The industry, pharmacy and consumer groups have jointly developed a prototype, which could be quickly implemented in community pharmacies nationally.
"ASMI believes the real-time monitoring system should be part of a package of measures, including front-of-pack warnings about the risk of codeine addiction and information/training resources for pharmacists and consumers," he added.
In its submission ASMI also calls for comprehensive examination of the impacts of the scheduling decision in the form of a Regulation Impact Statement, and reform of the current Scheduling Policy Framework to address its well documented limitations.