Codeine ad compliance reminder

The TGA has reminded pharmacy not to advertise codeine-containing products after 1 February 2018

When all products containing codeine become prescription-only, it will be an offence to advertise them direct to the public, as with any other prescription-only medication.

“Prior to 1 February 2018, pharmacy-only medicines containing codeine for the relief of coughs and colds can be advertised to the public, provided that the advertisements meet all applicable legislative requirements,” the TGA says.

“However, advertising to the public for pharmacist-only medicines containing codeine (e.g. those for pain relief) is prohibited.”

Until 1 February 2018, advertisements in specified media for pharmacy-only medicines containing codeine will continue to require approval before being published or broadcast.

The TGA points out that advertisers need to take steps well in advance of 31 January 2018 to ensure that material advertising codeine-containing products is not published or broadcast after that date.

This includes internet and social media advertising, as well as in-pharmacy materials.

“Pharmacists will need to make arrangements to remove any public advertising for medicines containing codeine in preparation for 1 February 2018, including product packaging, shelf, stand and floor advertising, dummy display products, website and social media material,” the TGA says

“However, from 1 February 2018, pharmacies may continue to include codeine-containing medicines in prescription price lists for consumers, provided that the price lists comply with the Price Information Code of Practice.”

The Guild is still working with the Government towards a solution to codeine access. Earlier this month national president George Tambassis told members that a solution could be a “prescription except when” approach, as seen in other countries, which could identify and support consumers who are at risk of codeine dependence, without restricting access to the majority of Australians who use codeine products responsibly.

In the meantime, it encourages pharmacies to continue to use MedsASSIST.

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