Support for Guild low-dose codeine model

codeine tabsules spill from orange pill bottle

A majority of pharmacists support the Guild’s “prescription – except when” model for low-dose codeine, an AJP poll has found

Following the TGA’s final decision to upschedule codeine-containing products which are currently available without prescription, the Guild started work on a possible solution: the “prescription – except when” model.

This would see pharmacists still able to dispense low-dose codeine products without prescription under certain limited extenuating circumstances: such as severe toothache where a dentist’s surgery is not open, after hours or in rural areas without services.

Forty-four per cent of AJP readers said they supported the proposal (237 responses), while another 9% (48 responses) said they supported it, but with some caveats.

A large number (33%, or 176 responses) said they did not support the proposal.

The poll was conducted under the premise that the TGA delegate’s decision is final and that the upschedule will take place as expected on 1 February 2018; thus the “no” response was intended to be selected by readers who do not support “prescription – except when” and who support the upschedule. Some readers, however, suggested that they were unsure as to whether the “no” response also included readers who wanted to retain the present S3 schedule for low-dose codeine.

Another 10% (52 readers) said it didn’t matter what they thought, as “prescription – except when” will never happen.

A spokesperson for the Pharmacy Guild welcomed the support for the proposal.

“It is good to see majority support for the codeine exception proposal because it is a common sense approach which puts patients first,” the spokesperson said.

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