The Guild has issued a reminder to pharmacists in this week’s edition of Forefront that codeine recording is not mandatory
While the Guild is encouraging pharmacies to use MedsASSIST, State and Territory Medicines and Poisons Regulations do not currently mandate recording of OTC codeine medicines, it says.
“Pharmacists are reminded not to suggest to consumers that the use of MedsASSIST is required by law but that it is the policy of the particular pharmacy to assist in the safe and appropriate medicine supply,” the Guild says.
“If a patient does not consent to the collection of their personal information for MedsASSIST, or is not able to produce an ID that is appropriate, pharmacists are able to exercise some degree of discretion about providing a codeine medicine.
“In such circumstances, pharmacists can advise that the Pharmacy Board of Australia guidelines for the supply of Pharmacist Only medicines stipulate that a pharmacist must be satisfied that there is a therapeutic need.
“A pharmacist may choose not to supply the medicine because they cannot be sure it is appropriate to do so.
“Pharmacists may instead elect to offer alternative medicines suitable for pain relief that are available without having to provide identification, or other treatment options including referral.”
A recent AJP poll showed very strong support for and takeup of the clinical decision-making tool.
Guild Victorian president Anthony Tassone told the AJP today that the Guild is “absolutely pleased to see the majority of pharmacies in Australia are using MedsASSIST at the moment, and that number is growing by the week.
“There is a reminder about its use not being required by law. But from my experience working in my pharmacy, once staff and I explain to patients that there’s consideration being given to making codeine OTC products prescription only, and that through use of this system we are trying to demonstrate to Government and decision-makers that it can still be safely access over the counter, the vast majority support the program.
“Some can’t offer me their driver’s licence fast enough. So I think patients understand the reasons we’re doing it.”
While MedsASSIST is not mandatory, Tassone encouraged pharmacies which are not yet on board to take up the program.
“In order to maintain codeine being available over the counter, the TGA and decision-makers need to be satisfied it can be accessed safely and effectively, and the use of MedsASSIST is one of the main vehicles to demonstrate that.”