The week in review


red clock

With the clock ticking as Australia counts down the last couple of weeks to the codeine upschedule, it’s no surprise that the controversial drug made headlines this week

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia reiterated its support for the upschedule, as well as last week’s comments by Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendon Murphy, who issued a statement saying paracetamol and anti-inflammatory medications, alone or in combination, are adequate over-the-counter treatments for most types of acute pain.

Pharmacists have been taking to mainstream media to discuss the issue: some to warn patients that the change is coming and to talk to their GP about pain management, and many to express concerns about the change and lobby for the “prescription except when” protocol.

And readers told us that patients have been pushing back against the upschedule by complaining and potentially stockpiling.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Medicines Classification Committee published the minutes of its November 2017 meeting, in which it decided that the Kiwis would follow Australia in upscheduling low-dose codeine combination products to Prescription Only… but that New Zealand would also take the step of downscheduling some single-ingredient codeine products to its “restricted” schedule, for OTC sale by pharmacists.

The Pharmacy Board released its latest snapshot of the profession, revealing that the pharmacist workforce continues to grow. Victoria is cracking down on what it calls “rogue practitioners” who encourage parents to avoid vaccinations. We heard how Chemist Warehouse and Amcal are owning the pharmacy catalogue space.

And with heatwave conditions around the country and fires burning in Victoria, at AJP we hope that you, and your customers, are staying safe.

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