The week in review

Pain was on the agenda this week, as the disagreements about codeine continue

On Thursday, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced a $20 million initiative, run through community pharmacies, to help people suffering with chronic pain. The trial’s announcement comes a week before low-dose codeine is to be upscheduled.

Meanwhile NSW Guild president David Heffernan has blasted the Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, over his claims OTC codeine kills 100 Australians a year. Professor Murphy also went head-to-head with Professor Peter Carroll on the subject, and two experts had a look at the picture of codeine addiction. Prescribers were warned not to fall back on opioids including codeine, and we learned a fifth of codeine users could have been stockpiling.

S8 opioids are now under the spotlight as well, as the TGA opened a consultation into them and their misuse.

An administrator was appointed for Dose Innovation, though it seems that impacted pharmacies will be supported.

NAPSA is holding its conference until Sunday, and we’ve already heard from pharmacist and MP Emma McBride, who told delegates that in order for people to commit to the profession, they need to be paid at an appropriate level.

The Guild’s David Quilty took a look at a likely decade of zero PBS growth. NSW announced free flu vaccination for children aged under five, and the RACGP called for the Federal Government to fund free flu vaccination for everyone, adults included. And stakeholders concerned about a TGA bill which would remove the need for advertising pre-approval, frustrated at the lack of a public hearing, held their own.

No matter which way you feel about the date we celebrate Australia Day, from AJP, please make sure this long weekend’s a safe one.

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