MedsASSIST now rolling out

analgesics: ibuprofen and glass of water

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 or 1300 137 608.

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  1. Karalyn Huxhagen

    medassist has given us opportunity to identify those patients who do not look like chronic codeine shoppers. There are many out there who Dr shop and do not beep on your radar. It is hard work to have the converstaion when the customer turns up as being a multiple pack user. I live in hope that like PSE recording this will be a tool to have a discussion about alternatives to therapy. i have already had one patient return to thank me for recommending high dpse Magnesium which has made a world of difference to her pain management.

  2. john a

    medassist is a great idea , i myself have suffered with chronic pain and at times have found myself taking more than double the daily dose. I am tapering down and have found my local pharmacist to be very supportive, something i did not find when dealing with the Monster chemists. No one likes to be seen as an addict or be quickly judged , dealing with chronic pain is hard enough.

    • Lee

      Since when did pharmacist become qualified doctors, I have suffered extreme back and shoulder pain for many years since an accident and my doctor recommended using over the counter pain killers as oppose to stronger medicine. Now I am left to feel that my intense pain should be determined by a pharmacist, well I totally disagree. So I should be made to suffer just because of some idiots out there. What all you so call medical experts are doing is pushing the problems underground, that’s why there are very dangerous illegal drugs in our society and it’s only going to get worst. Your focus should be on how to help people get off the illegal drugs not push more people there way. We are slowing becoming a Police National not far off communism with a dash of diplomacy.

      • Ouija1210

        spot on… now people who have used over the counter medicines for their chronic pain or even people who have used over the counter stuff the GET OFF ILLEGAL drugs will suffer because they won’t have access to over the counter medicines without being harassed and treated like and addict or drug fiend. Some people prefer to deal with their personal health issues in their own way, this will just push more people to the illegal route sadly.

  3. Cersei666

    I don’t appreciate being interrogated by pharmacists about what I buy or take. My business & no one else’s!

    • Ouija1210

      This is how it should be in a country that is free, however you don’t live in a free country. Nothing worse when government starts to care about your personal health… but I digress. You know who is going to benefit from this? the drug dealers.

  4. Puzzled

    You people are idiots. Now addicts will have to buy stuff like Codral which has paracetamol – much more dangerous than ibuprofen. Mark my words: a lot of people will die because of this monitoring.

    • Ouija1210

      Codral is also being monitored and you cannot buy more then 4 boxes of codral a month. And due to morons who think they can get high off it normal people like me and others who have recuring sinus issues are interrogated when asking for codral.

    • Ada Williams

      Yeah, I am going to kill myself..I cant stand chronic pain anymore. Watch the suicide rate go up

      • Sheshtyn Paola

        Hi Ada,

        We are concerned for your wellbeing and encourage you to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 000 if you feel you are in danger.

        Kind regards,
        Sheshtyn Paola (Journalist, AJP)

  5. Kathryn McCarthy

    Surely it is illegal for a pharmacy assistant to take my drivers licence and place in a box with my scripts as I am purchasing Mersyndol. I am not at the counter when the Chemist is doing the script, I could be in another shop, so why cant I just give my licence no. I dont know who has access to my Licence and details and with so many cases of fraud, surely this is not a safe proceedure. The Licence could easily be lost amongst all the paper work or just left behind. How much I.D is required really. I too am sick of being made feel like a criminal instead of a person with chronic pain. I get my advice from the Doctor I dont need a pharmacy assistant trying to tell me some untested herbal remedy can solve my problem.

    • Ouija1210

      I have noticed this too, I have a pinched nerve which when it goes off hurts like hell for several weeks and then subsides, and may flare up few weeks later and its been like this for years. Every time i go to a pharmacy a high-horse assistant who wants to be somebody starts interrogating me about my drivers licence etc… i just cut to the chase and ask “are you a pharmacist ? NO?, ok I want to speak to a pharmacist” end of story put them in their place…

  6. Ouija1210

    This is such a blatant intrusion of human rights and privacy rights that its appalling. Now every jerk in pharmacy is on high horse asking for my drivers licence when I ask for a box of panadol with codeine for chronic back pain. First they did it with pseudo, which was warranted i guess, but cmon if someone is addicted to painkillers they WILL not buy them from a pharmacy, but will do so illegally.

  7. nuggettyone

    So much hostility here. 🙁

    I’d just like to point out that right now, MedsAssist is not mandatory.

    The pharmacies who’ve implemented it, and the pharmacists who ask, are doing so because they care.

    Not saying that the questions can’t be uncomfortable for both patient and pharmacist. And ID definitely shouldn’t be left out on the tray lol.

    The thing to remember, though, is that pharmacists (and pharmacies) who participate in MedsAssist wouldn’t do it if they didn’t care.

    In pure retail terms, it could be argued that MedsAssist a ‘bad’ idea. After all, if it isn’t handled sensitively, I, as a customer, could feel judged, inconvenienced, and victimised all at once! And all while I’m in pain. That makes me unlikely to go back to that pharmacy. Which means the pharmacy and pharmacist hasn’t just lost a sale. They’ve lost a customer.

    All because they care enough to ask.

    • Bill

      It is not a pharmacists job to ‘care’, or to take on the unsolicited responsibility for others welfare.
      It is their to give people enough information so that they can make an informed decision about what they wish to use or take. Anything more is an invasion of privacy and a clear abuse of power exercised within a privileged position of trust.

  8. maimai

    Seeing a lot of comments regarding chronic pain here – the thing is. Codeine is for short term use and is definitely not indicated for chronic pain! There is strong evidence for other over the counter products that will provide more relief for pain then a codeine combination!

  9. John

    I had a brain tumor and suffer chronic migraine related headaches. At times I have had to take up to eight tablets a day. As directed by my neurologist I take two every night to minimize the impact. My kidney and liver functions are monitored and tested every month. This gives me a quality of life that allows to to continue working.

    Due to costs of other medicines I have to purchase these tablets sometimes from two different chemists to last me a month.

    The other day I was told no you just purchased some and can no longer buy any more. Thanks, I am now suffering. As usually the innocent now have to suffer due to the ideology of others.

    • Ada Williams

      I COULDNT AGREE MORE…Do you know how many people died from so called Codiene abuse??? EIGHT IN ONE MILLION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plus they took them with alcohol, and other drugs..MIXED THEM…I am sick of this…we can go get unlimited hard alcohol which will destroy our guts quicker then proper use of codeine meds, which wont at all hurt your organs, taken properly…A lot of appalling judgemental people here will drink LOTS OF ALCOHOL which is toxic, addictive and destroying our society. I HOPE EVERYONE OFTHEM ENDURES ONE DAY BAD CHRONIC PAIN FOR YEARS AND CAN HAVE V LITTLE ACCESS TO DRUGS OF RELIEF..EVERYONE OF THEM….Most people will one day live with it..and as to this appalling word ‘PAIN MANAGEMENT’ JUST TELL ME HOW DO YOU MANAGE FFFING PAIN PEOPLE IF YOU CANT GET RELIEF FOR IT…I said I would kill myself if I couldnt get proper pain relief and I will… I CANT STAND THIS ANYMORE…I COULD DRINK A BOTTLE OF GIN A DAY EASILY ENOUGH AND NO ONE WOULD STOP ME OR GIVE A DAMN BUT nope, I am just going to opt out of living…I am SICK OF IT…and lets see in 5 years how anymore suicides were over living with chronic pain and denied relief…The rate will shoot up…damn you nanny state morons…if you deny people relief for chronic pain they no longer can contribute to society and become a drain… no one wants to live like that…suicides will increase.

  10. IToldYouMYHeadHurt

    People who use codeine on a regular basis are unwell. To speak broadly, I consider illness falls into two categories; a chronic pain condition or a dependence.

    I myself have chronic daily migraine and unexplained nerve pain in both arms and my sciatic nerve. I regularly use medications containing codeine to manage pain under the supervision of a Neurologist and a GP. Due to the complexity of my condition I have not been able to achieve better results than this to date. I hate it, but I have to work and when I am unmedicated (which I do in my annual leave) I am bedridden.

    The every day struggle and pain that I must manage, I feel, is an inditement of our medical system. I have not had adequate assistance and my health is in continual decline.

    Rather than addressing the systemic problems in our medical system and the difficulties of living with a chronic pain problem (for which treatment success is at about 9% in cases like mine), the tracking and intervention in the lives of people who live with chronic pain and refusing medical assistance as well as the autonomy of the individual in treating and managing their pain places the blame on the sufferer and does not adequately address the issue. i.e. doctors can be diagnosticians and there are very few pain relief medications that work and can be used in chronic pain.

    Further, dependency is an illness and simply removing supply to those who are struggling to get by on a day to day basis is reckless and uncaring.

    When narcotics are involved so is judgement. Rather than monitoring and withholding medication from individuals that are struggling with chronic pain or dependency, more time and effort should be invested by their doctors to better provide diagnosis, care and treatment options. Pharmacists should not be playing the role of veto for people whose needs and requirements have not been met by their doctor or specialist. They are not qualified or adequately informed about the complexities of an individual’s treatment to make such a judgement especially when the only information at hand is codeine intake.

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