Nats call to reverse or compromise codeine decision

David Heffernan and John Barilaro
David Heffernan and John Barilaro.

The NSW National Party has thrown its support behind the Guild’s “prescription – except when” concept

At the Harden Pharmacy in regional NSW, state Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro called upon Health Ministers around the country to take action on the codeine upschedule.

“We’ve made an announcement where the Nationals are calling on the Federal Government to reverse their decision in relation to the way customers can access codeine products over the counter,” he said.

“A reverse would be great, or a compromise position, which I know the Pharmacy Guild have been looking to.

Mr Barilaro is the Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business.

“Prescription – except when” would see pharmacists still able to dispense currently-OTC codeine-containing analgesics after the 1 February 2018 upschedule under certain circumstances, such as for dental pain relief when a dentist or GP cannot be accessed.

The Deputy Premier said such a measure is supported with the safeguard of a national real-time monitoring system to prevent misuse.

Mr Barilaro pointed out that the upschedule will have a bigger impact in rural and regional parts of the State, such as Harden, where timely access to doctors is often limited.

Harden is a designated district of workforce shortage for GPs.

New Pharmacy Guild NSW Branch president David Heffernan was on scene and explained how the Guild’s proposal, in conjunction with a real-time monitoring system, would help pharmacists identify and help people with drug misuse problems or poorly managed pain.

“We applaud the NSW Nationals for supporting our common sense proposal to allow safe and appropriate access to these medicines to occur without a prescription,” says the Pharmacy Guild’s national president, George Tambassis.

“We all know that simply making these medicines prescription only will not prevent their abuse through doctor-shopping.

“The Pharmacy Guild has already proactively put real time monitoring in place using its MedsASSIST program – yet no such national system exists for prescription medicines.

“We are certainly urging State and Territory Governments to put patients first and recognise the value of the system we are proposing – maintaining safe appropriate access, with safeguards and real time recording,” Mr Tambassis says.


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