As your readers may know, low dose over the counter (OTC) codeine-containing products such as Nurofen Plus, Panadeine and Mersyndol will be available only with a prescription from a doctor from February 1.
The main reason for this change is that a small number of people are thought to be misusing the products. However, as a community pharmacist in Thurgoona for 16 years, I believe that the vast majority of people in our community use these products safely to treat acute, short-term pain such as migraine, toothache and period pain.
If the proposed change goes ahead I believe it will force some in our community to suffer unnecessary pain because if they wish to use the products they will have to wait to get a doctor’s appointment. As a pharmacist I will no longer be able to supply the products to anyone without a doctor’s prescription.
We must also remember that alternative OTC analgesics containing ibuprofen, such as Maxigesic and Nuromol, will not be a safe option for many people because of their current medical conditions, or the other medications they are taking.
If the rescheduling goes ahead it will leave many in our community without an effective OTC treatment for their toothache, period pain, migraine or other short-term pain conditions.
I have introduced into our pharmacy a real-time monitoring system which allows us to track all of our sales of OTC analgesics containing codeine. This system has also been introduced into the majority of pharmacies in NSW, and it allows pharmacists to identify those people who may be misusing the products, and offer them counselling and referral to a doctor or other health care professional for further assessment and appropriate care.
The decision to make the products available only on prescription can be changed as the NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, can regulate to allow pharmacists to give people in acute pain a limited three-day supply in conjunction with mandating real-time monitoring that is already in place in the majority of pharmacies. This would allow pharmacists to identify and help those people who may be misusing the products, while at the same time allowing the vast majority of people who use the products appropriately and safely for the short-term treatment of acute pain continued access to the products without a prescription.
State MPs have the power to help people in pain by simply asking Mr Hazzard to make this change. With the clock ticking towards February 1, pharmacists urgently call on any local people who share our concerns to contact our local Member of Parliament, and the office of NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on 02 8574 6000, or by email at email@example.com so that they may represent you at the state level where there is still scope for a more common sense solution, as outlined above, to be regulated.
Simon Horsfall, Thurgoona
The BBQ burnt us
I write regarding the premiere of The BBQ movie in Albury on Sunday. I am wondering where were all the promised tickets for all the kids who helped?
Where are the tickets for all the volunteers who gave their time and were told they would be invited to the premiere, people who stood around in the heat for hours on end who helped make this movie what it is?
How Australian is that?