Don’t upschedule ibuprofen too: ASMI

white pills and tablets: GMiA

ASMI has criticised a bid to upschedule ibuprofen to pharmacy-only

A proposal was made at the November meeting of the ACMS to reschedule the painkiller to pharmacy-only.

But ASMI says this would lead to Australia being “out of step” with comparable markets such as the UK, Canada, the US and New Zealand on ibuprofen access.

Consumer access to effective pain relief is already limited in Australia (and will be restricted further next year when OTC codeine products become prescription only), says ASMI.

It says there is no reason why consumer convenience and consumer choice on pain relief options should be further restricted, saying “the proposed limitations on access are not appropriate and are not supported by evidence”.

Steve Scarff, ASMI Regulatory and Legal Director, said: “OTC NSAIDs have a good safety profile and a long history of use, allowing people to access effective pain relief products for common problems of short duration, such as headache, toothache, sprains and strains.”

ASMI cited a recently completed TGA review of OTC NSAIDs, concluding that: “These drugs provide effective pain relief when used according to the label at recommended doses for short durations,” and that; “The use of OTC NSAIDs was safe when they were used according to the recommended doses for short durations, as instructed on the label.”

Mr Scarff says that it is important that consumers take note of the label warnings on NSAID medicines such as Ibuprofen and use them only as directed.

“Consumers are entitled to the convenience of being able to purchase ibuprofen products when and where it suits them,” he says.

“The current scientific evidence shows that OTC ibuprofen doses are safe for short-term use, and current product labels include information to assist consumers to choose and use these products safely and effectively.

“Restricting consumer access to Ibuprofen would be a gross overregulation of a safe and effective medicine and such a move would be inconsistent with other markets around the world.”

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  1. jason northwood

    Bex: Australia’s APC cure-all that was addictive and caused kidney damage

    WHEN former prime minister Kevin Rudd told journalists speculating that he was trying to reclaim the Labor leadership to have “a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down”, younger members of the media pack look puzzled.

    They had not heard such an expression before, but to the children of the Baby Boomer generation, the phrase was immediately recognizable.

  2. Yes, they would say that, wouldn’t they! We pride ourselves, quite rightly, on the right balance between consumer availability and safety issues, with our pro-active pharmacy advisory systems via S2 and more importantly S3. Maybe can’t change it now but we all know Ibuprofen should never have gone to supermarkets etc. in the 1st place! I won’t repeat it all, but think of the obvious potential NSAID side-effects in at-risk patioents-G-I, renal, ( incl.potential, albeit temporary renal failure from fluid depletion or “triple whammy”). Pharmacist overview and counselling is needed, especially since there will be a greater use of OTC NSAIDs from Feb.2018!

  3. David

    That should be the first of many medicines to go back to pharmacy so trained people can give education on appropriate use and ensure Quality Use of Medicines.

  4. PharmOwner

    It must be ok for Nurofen to be sold in service stations and Coles. Because everyone reads the warning labels on packs of medications don’t they?

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