Keep low-dose codeine medication available over-the-counter
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Stopping low-dose codeine medications from being available over-the-counter (OTC) will greatly inconvenience honest hard working Australians, Doctors & hospitals. As a mother who works full time & an Australian consumer, I on occasion require medications such as Panadeine Extra or Nurofen Plus to relieve period pain or migraines so that I can go to work & earn a living. In these instances I do not have time to wait one week to see my Doctor, I need a timely low-dose codeine medication which is very effective at managing my pain & enables me to function to attend work & look after my young children. If these medications are not readily available in our time of need from the pharmacists we trust, what are we the public supposed to do? Take time off work & potentially lose income? Call the home doctor service (if that hasn't been abolished)? Present at the hospital or a walk in clinic?
I am not a drug addict, do not suffer from a long term chronic pain illness & am not looking to manipulate the system in any way - I am simply an Australian mum who like most other people in the community works full time & cannot afford not to function because of a short term ailment like period pain or migraines.
The sale of OTC codeine medications is already monitored by pharmacists using the MedsASSIST program by Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Reports of this seem to be successful & most consumers seem happy for their purchase of codeine to be recorded & monitored. Many Australians agree that people who suffer from long term chronic pain illnesses should have prescriptions for codeine if they require frequent/high doses, but what about the rest of us who only require it on occasion? Are we put into the "drug addict category?" Why are pharmacists not being trusted to utilise the current real time monitoring system & decide if they are willing to sell a customer low-dose codeine products based on frequency of purchases? Pharmacists advise consumers how to take medications, what to avoid etc with every single sale. I think that the average occasional users of these medications have been vastly overlooked & the role of pharmacists under valued.
Today's ABC news article states: "The regulator said there was "little evidence" low-dose codeine medicines were "any more effective for pain relief or cough than similar medicines without codeine"."
I strongly disagree with that statement by the Therapeutic Goods Administration - I think many Australians benefit from low-dose codeine medication on occasion & if it was so ineffective then no-one would bother taking it. I believe most people try using medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen first & if they prove ineffective then look to the low-dose codeine medications.
I would like to see the Government take the time to consult with the community before implementing this policy & provide solutions for what consumers can do if they require low-dose codeine medications but either cannot afford to pay to see a Doctor or cannot afford to wait a few weeks to get an appointment with a Doctor. Shall we all go to emergency at our local hospitals & burden the already overburdened health system if our GP's are not available at our time of need? Will funding be granted to assist people with addiction given that most rehabilition services are already overburdened & have significant waiting times? Please advise.
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