GSK to pull its OTC codeine

white capsules, that resemble OMG Slim capsules

GSK has announced that it will pull its codeine-containing OTCs, as the Guild talks accessibility with the TGA

GSK issued a statement advising that it will not move its S3 codeine range to prescription only next year.

“We (GSK) respect the delegate’s decision to upschedule codeine-containing analgesic from 1st February, 2018, which was based on the advice of the ACMS,” GSK says.

“GSK welcomed the opportunity to put input into the ACMS decision making process.

“Since the decision was announced in December last year (2016) we have taken time to assess the implications for codeine-containing analgesics in our portfolio.

“After a thorough assessment of the strong pain environment we believe that Australians currently have access to wide range of high quality codeine-containing analgesics via prescription.

“Based on this we have taken the decision not to move our codeine-containing analgesics (Panafen Plus, Panadeine, Panadeine Rapid Soluble and Panadeine Extra) from S3 OTC to S4 prescription only medicines.

“This means that they will no longer be available in the Australian market.

“We are working on an exit plan and are committed to working closely with healthcare professionals, patient groups and suppliers to help manage this transition effectively and ensure consumers continue to receive effective education and pain relief.”

At this morning’s panel session Guild national president George Tambassis told the audience that the decision to upschedule codeine-containing OTCs would definitely go ahead.

The Guild is still exploring how this could look for pharmacists, however.

“I met with [TGA head] John Skerritt about access to codeine products, so we can propose an evidence-based solution with the TGA, so that the people who are using those appropriately for the right conditions will still be able to access those medicines,” Mr Tambassis says.

“So the Guild is working with them to bring those solutions to life.

“The TGA has made a decision they’re going S4. Our position is quite clear that we’re going to work with the TGA to find an alternative model, and we’re doing that, full steam ahead.”

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  1. Drugby

    Bayer is also phasing out S3 codeine containing products eg Demazin cold & flu, replacing them with new formulations that exclude codeine.

  2. Toby

    Drugby seems to have no concern whatever, that up-scheduling Codeine from s3 to s4 will impact the already questionable viability of pharmacies. Is this because most of Drugby’s income, is derived from lucrative consulting? And she never has to sully her hands with paying bills for wages, premises, stock etc? And when Drugby spruikes that pharmacists are the drug experts, she only means making non-binding recommendations to doctors via reports – not for Drugby, much of taking responsibility for providing a real medicine, to a real patient, and relying on the payment from this to put her bread on the table, like the rest of us non-ivory-tower pharmacists do.

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