It’s been on the cards for a while and this morning it was made official with the announcement that painkillers containing codeine will need a prescription from 2018.
The decision is already facing backlash from many patients who say the over the counter pills that have codeine are the only ones that give them relief.
From 2018, anyone wanting medication like Nurofen Plus, Panadeine, Codral Original Cold and Flu Tablets, Aspalgin Soluble tablets and Mersyndol Tablets will have to visit their GP and get a script first.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration made the call over night, saying it was about time Australia followed suit with the rest of the world.
They also pointed to the high number of Australians becoming addicted to the pain relief medication, noting the number of addicts has tripled in the past few years.
“Consumers frequently became addicted to codeine,” a TGA statement said.
“Misuse of OTC [over-the-counter] codeine products contributes to severe health outcomes including liver damage, stomach ulceration, respiratory depression and death.”
But is it really fair to everyone to make codeine an over the counter drug?
Many customers have hit back at the decision today saying it is just another form of red tape and ‘nanny state’ behaviour. Some claim it is unfair to punish everyone for the actions of a few and say it should be up to everyone to be responsible for themselves.
Others though have welcomed the change. Codeine can become highly addictive with addicts taking around 100 pills a day and shopping around from pharmacy to pharmacy so they don’t get caught.
The decision has certainly drummed up debate and raises some big questions.