The Pharmacy Guild is now rolling out MedsASSIST, the codeine real-time monitoring system that it says will help pharmacists monitor consumer use of codeine containing products to ensure safe and effective use.
“Since the MedsASSIST pilot commenced in February in approximately 140 pharmacies in Newcastle, NSW and North Queensland regions, we have collected data on more than 50,000 transactions,” the Guild says.
“The system is demonstrating its effectiveness in identifying patients who may be at risk of developing codeine dependency. It is also demonstrating that the overwhelming majority of consumers are using these products safely.
“The Guild supports maintaining the Schedule 3 (Pharmacist Only) listing for analgesic medicines containing codeine so the majority of consumers who use these products safely and effectively can continue to have timely access to these products.
“We have consistently argued that re-scheduling codeine products to make them prescription-only is a blunt instrument that will not address issues of misuse and abuse.
“The proposed change to Schedule 4 (Prescription Only) will only increase Government expenditure on Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme if consumers have to visit a GP to get a prescription.”
For MedsASSIST to effectively monitor consumer use of these products so that pharmacists can help patients at risk of codeine dependence it is crucial to have every pharmacy across the country using MedsASSIST, the Guild says.
“In order to maximise the effectiveness of MedsASSIST, it is vital that State and Territory Medicines and Poisons regulations be amended to mandate the real-time online recording of codeine supply.”
Pharmacies which have not received their unique MedsASSIST login details from Guildlinkby Friday 15th April, can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 137 608.