The Turnbull Government should immediately outline how they are managing the transition to codeine being only available via script after 2017, with the news that the pharmacists’ codeine register will cease operating immediately.
The Government has not explained how they will communicate the upscheduling to consumers, and it is now clearer than ever that they have failed to adequately engage critical stakeholders in this transition.
From tomorrow, the MedsASSIST system which minimises codeine misuse by recording usage in real time will no longer be in operation. At the same time, the Turnbull Government is yet to outline a clear plan of how they will communicate with health professionals and consumers to make sure there aren’t unintended consequences of the change – something that is now particularly important with the removal of the pharmacy monitoring system.
It is critical that Australians who use these medicines safely continue to have timely and affordable access to pain management medication after this upscheduling and that there is a clear transition plan.
The 98 per cent of Australians who use these medicines safely shouldn’t be caught out or left in the dark when the change comes in less than a year’s time. Likewise, the Government must now outline how they will ensure access to codeine is properly controlled in the interim, to ensure that those at risk of addiction aren’t allowed to dangerously stockpile in anticipation of the upscheduling.
WEDNESDAY, 29 MARCH 2017