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02 May 2019

The AMA has welcomed news that sales of codeine-containing products has decreased by about 50 percent since the up-scheduling of codeine to prescription-only in February 2018.

AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said that these figures have vindicated the decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to ban over-the-counter sales of codeine.

“Studies showed that thousands of Australians were using codeine inappropriately and putting themselves at risk of addiction, organ damage, and other health problems,” Dr Bartone said.

“The AMA strongly supported the decision by the TGA, as the independent regulator, to act in the interests of patient safety, and up-schedule codeine products.

“The TGA and the Federal Government held firm in the face of great pressure from the pharmacy lobby groups, particularly the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, which launched a prolonged and very strong multi-State offensive against this change.”

Despite the scaremongering of the Pharmacy Guild, the TGA analysis did not find a statistically significant increase in the supply of high-strength 30mg codeine.

The AMA continues to advocate for a national Real Time Prescription Monitoring system.

Read the full media release here.

The AMA Position Statement on Medicines is available here.


Published: 02 May 2019