Pharmacists oppose drug decision

BAD MOVE: Pharmacist Lauren Cribb and Ebony Richens say cold and flu tablets are set to be more expensive in 2018. Picture: Craig Thomson.
BAD MOVE: Pharmacist Lauren Cribb and Ebony Richens say cold and flu tablets are set to be more expensive in 2018. Picture: Craig Thomson.

A local pharmacist has criticised the recent announcement by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to restrict the supply of codeine-based drugs to prescription-only, saying it will "clog up the system". 

Medication that contains codeine including Codral for cold and flu, painkillers like Nurofen Plus and Mersyndol for period pain will only be available with a doctor's prescription from February 2018.

The decision could make codeine-based medications more expensive for locals seeking treatment for a common cold or flu.

Pharmacists oppose the move, arguing the cost of drugs will rise.

Young pharmacist Lauren Cribb said the decision would annoy the 98 per cent of Australians who used the drugs responsibly and would now pay more for them.

"The decision will clog up the local medical system," she said.

"People who would normally come to us for relief from a simple cold will now have to go to the doctor which will increase the number of people going to see the local GP.

"If you add the cost of the GP visit to the medication this decision will cost people more money."

But Local Doctor Tom Douch said he agrees with the law change.

"Medication and in particular codeine-based medicines are being abused throughout the community, it has become a problem, we know from the evidence that it is being abused so I think the decision is an understandable and reasonable move," he said.

"In a wider sense medications are being used incorrectly and too freely and I think a little bit of tightening up of that is a reasonable step.

"We are blessed to have medications but by and large we are abusing them."

A Therapeutic Goods Administration statement said the change in scheduling of products containing codeine will mean that people who wish to use such medicines will have to obtain a prescription from their GP or use an alternative product such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or a combination of those drugs.