The deferral of a decision on codeine scheduling will give the Guild time to address the problem of codeine dependence, national president George Tambassis said in his address to the Guild Dinner last night.
“Last week we saw the very welcome decision of the delegate to the Secretary of the Department of Health to defer a decision on the upscheduling of codeine containing products,” he said. “This was a very welcome and commonsense response.
“We see the time provided by this deferral as an opportunity to press ahead with a solution to the problem of codeine abuse and dependency that does not involve depriving millions of Australians of their current access to these important medicines.
“I’m talking principally about real time recording and monitoring of codeine purchases.
“The Guild has developed a prototype of this system which helps to identify consumers potentially at risk, and provide clinical referral pathways.
“We will press ahead with the deployment of this system. The Guild also supports mandatory front-of-pack warnings about the potential for addiction, and increased consumer education.
“The Guild sees harm minimisation and support for patients and families of patients with addiction problems as a vital part of our responsibility to the community.
“For this reason we have recently adopted a Social Responsibility strategy which focusses on materially assisting the fight against substance abuse and addiction – and we’ll have more to say about that in the coming months.”
Tambassis also thanked the Government, the Opposition, the Greens and all Members of Parliament and Senators for the high level of support that was shown for community pharmacy with the passage of legislation on which the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement depended.
He also highlighted the Guild’s partnership with the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and the work the Guild has done to raise awareness of the illness, as well as acknowledging Guild senior staff member Ann Dalton, who was diagnosed with brain cancer early this year.
“ want to acknowledge her and the strength she is showing in her battle against this insidious disease. The Guild is supporting the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and urges others to do the same.”