There is no substance to reports that GPs could be banned from prescribing S8 analgesics, the TGA says
Over the long weekend, Fairfax and News media reported that the TGA’s consultation on S8 opioids could lead to a ban on GPs prescribing them, as a measure to prevent a similar “opioid crisis” to that being experience in the United States.
The consultation will examine options for a regulatory response to the potential misuse of S8 opioids, with several options being suggested, including “considering whether the highest dose products should remain on the market, or be restricted to specialist/authority prescribing”.
Fairfax reporter Aisha Dow wrote on January 26 that “general practitioners could be banned from prescribing strong painkillers in an attempt to prevent Australia following the United States into an opioid overdose epidemic”.
The article quoted RACGP president Dr Bastian Seidel, who said he felt the TGA was unfairly targeting GPs.
“We need to move away from blaming a particular group,” he said.
Meanwhile news.com.au reported that “the proposal would bar doctors from prescribing painkillers such as morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl and pethidine”.
The TGA made an announcement that “the story today that suggests GPs may not be able to prescribe high dose opioids under a review being done by the TGA is totally incorrect”.
“The medicines’ regulator is not proposing and will not be stopping GPs from prescribing high dose opioids,” it said in a statement.
“As part of the discussion paper the TGA has issued on the use and misuse of opioids, there is an option about the level of training for potentially dangerous drugs which is being discussed in consultation with the AMA, the RACGP and other appropriate bodies.”
The TGA’s consultation paper examines issues around the use of prescription opioids – focusing on higher-risk S8s, though some S4s may be considered – and explores options for a regulatory response to any issues identified.
Stakeholders have been invited to respond to the paper by Friday, 2 March 2018.
Meanwhile, Nine News reports that pharmacy is expecting a backlash from the low-dose codeine upschedule, set to take place this Thursday.
Some disappointed customers “may well express not only disappointment but anger if they are denied access to this medicine,” warns Pharmacy Guild spokesperson Greg Turnbull.