Why buying flu tablets and painkillers could soon be much harder… 65



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They’re a must-have in any medicine cabinet but soon it may not be as easy as it has been to buy cold and flu tablets over the counter, and it’s due to one crucial ingredient.

In news this morning, the Federal Government’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has revealed they have been considering whether to reclassify drugs that contain codeine because of the risk of harm, addiction or overdose, reports the ABC.

This includes not just cold and flu tablets but cough suppressants, and codeine-based painkillers such as Nurofen Plus and Panadeine.

If TGA’s recommendations are put in place, we will soon need a prescription from our doctor to take it from June next year.

“There is … a lack of evidence of any benefit of codeine over placebo in the relief of cough, making the risk/benefit profile for this indication unfavourable,” TGA’s report said.

The AMA said it was backing TGA to make the right decision for patients.

The Australian Medical Association said it backed the TGA to make an appropriate decision.

“One of the issue about the use of codeine is that it should only be used, if over-the-counter, for short-term pain relief, and yet it appears from the evidence that it’s used for longer term relief,” AMA vice-president Dr Stephen Parnis told the ABC’s AM program.

The Pharmacy Guild says these kinds of medicines come in handy for patients, which is absolutely true – you can only imagine how much harder it will be to get a doctor’s appointment now.


“The majority of people do use these quite safely and wisely,” guild president George Tambassis told AM.

“They do look after the pain of a lot of people out there that perhaps paracetamol and aspirin and maybe the anti-inflammatories that we’ve also got to choose [from] in terms of our recommendations do not.

“So I can’t agree with some of the data that they may have access to because at the pharmacy level we do find these products do come in handy for a lot of patients out there”.

One other option is for a real-time monitoring system that helps pharmacists make sure patients are using the drugs correctly and not purchasing multiple products from multiple pharmacies.

“If we pick up on these people that are either using these products too much or it’s obvious that they’re addicted to them, we’ll deal with that if we have the data in front of us,” Mr Tambassis said.

The TGA is expected to make a final decision in late November.


Tell us, do you think this is ridiculous? Should codeine be allowed to be sold over the counter? What do you think will happen to the doctor’s waiting room?

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  1. Crazy….Although there is far too much choice. Perhaps it could be up to the pharmacist to help choose the best relief!

    1 REPLY
    • then they can push the stuff they get backhanders for.you wont have this choice when don key rolls in with the Tppa

  2. Just leave us alone to buy what we feel is necessary. Chemists have served us all well for a long time.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree with you and all like minded people why do these bureaucrats go overboard life can be hard enough without them stepping in without giving thought to every aspect

  3. Nothing like clogging up the Dr. Surgery and spreading germs to people who may have weakened immune systems. This is ridiculous. If I need flu tablets I know I have to tell the chemist I take blood pressure tablets etc. too many rules Australia is becoming more and more a Police state. The chemist would know the ones who are buying too many of these things.

    2 REPLY
    • You have to supply drivers licence and the chemist records the number when you buy certain cold and flu medications. Here in Tassie anyway.

    • Qld always lable any of the stronger medication and keep records, I had been away for a couple of years and when I went to old chemist they pulled my old lable out and updated it. Heaven help anyone needing a doctor if this comes in, can be hard enought o get an appointment now. Just make it standard that proof if Identity is required and leave it to the chemist as is now.

  4. Great, we have an 80km round trip to get to our closes doctor and then they charge $70 for a short time visit which has to be booked in advance and could be two days later and all this just because you may have a bad headache and need something for it. Sure the Medical Association will back it, more money for their members.

  5. My personal flu cure, a glass of wine with cinnamon gloves honey peppermint tee and sugar, boil it and drink it as hot as you can stand it and than straight to Bed!!!!!

    4 REPLY
  6. Real time monitoring sounds like the way to go. This would pick up the people who are abusing these substances and would negate the need for a doctors script. We don’t need doctors surgeries any more congested than they are now.

    1 REPLY
  7. during winter in this country town there is generally at least a 2 week wait for an appointment. … bloody silly idea.

  8. More BS from the Nanny State. My wife uses codeine based pain killers which are the only ones that work for her. In some states you already have to identify yourself and listen to some 20 year old shop assistant tell you that you can’t use more than eight a day etc (my wife’s a trained nurse/midwife) as though we are a lot of morons who can’t read the side of a packet.

    Once again, the decent, responsible members of society will be inconvenienced because of a minority that wants to kill itself off.

  9. I cannot get an appointment with my doctor the same day I ring for an appointment – sometimes I have to wait a week. I would either be dead or better by then.

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