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Why is Australian pharmacy not being recognised for its world-leading programs for codeine and pseudoephedrine recording and monitoring?

Australian pharmacy has established world’s best practice in handling and recording sales of codeine and other medications, but this is not being recognised by regulators, a leading pharmacist believes.

Well-known NSW community pharmacy owner Peter Feros has written to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia after a TGA official was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as saying;

“Any call to allow codeine to be supplied over the counter flies in the face of evidence and international best practice.”

He asked the Guild national office if any other country that has successfully “for 5 years, operated a nation wide program that records & monitors the provision of pseudoephedrine containing medications over the counter in community pharmacy (ie. Project Stop), or has developed a similar recording & monitoring community pharmacy service for the convenient provision to patients of medications containing codeine (ie. MedsAssist).

“Are not these programs “international best practice”?” he asked.

In a response, Guild officials told Mr Feros that “Project Stop and MedsAssist are pretty much unique in Australia.”

Some US states required recording of pseudoephedrine, and a South African system allowed for real-time monitoring of codeine, the Guild response stated.

Mr Feros said that “AMA President Dr Michael Gannon was recently quoted in the AJP as saying about codeine rescheduling: “It’s not as if we are leading the world on this change. Something like 25 countries around the world did this years ago, some more than a decade ago.”

“Dr Gannon fails to mention that none of these 25 countries have: Project Stop or MedsAssist, and thus consumers in these countries do not have through community pharmacies convenient access to medications containing pseudoephedine or codeine.”

“These countries do not have real time recording and monitoring of these medications thus facilitating the pharmacists to monitor and counsel patient who could misuse these products,“ Mr Feros said.

“Project Stop and MedsAssist are world leading and international best practice in the Quality use of Medicines,” he added, saying this needs to be recognised and acknowledged.

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  1. Toby

    The AMA lobby has won this one against the Guild lobby. With its real-time monitoring system for both Pseudo and Codeine, the Guild had the technical tools to win the arugment about patient safety. Especially since the doctors have never even suggested a real-time monitoring system for doctors. However winning arguments does not always come down to who is technically right. It comes down to who has the best media coverage, (AMA every time) and who has the most influence over the committees making the clinical recommendations, which then become law. (AMA every time) A pity; pharmacy in Australia is more advanced than in most other countries. It may decline from now on, simply because it has not spruiked its ability well enough.

  2. bernardlou1

    Tim Greenaway the head of the TGA is an ex AMA president. AMA doesn’t represent the majority of doctors. It has 30% membership. The vast majority of doctors I spoke to don’t support codeine Up scheduling as a matter of fact they think it’s madness.

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