Recent regulatory proposal by the Therapeutic Goods Administration late last year led to debates to how prescription medicine misuse should be addressed. While experts recommended tighter controls and the rescheduling of codeine-based medicines, other peak medical bodies such as the RACGP and Pharmacy Guild of Australia, continue to call for the urgent implementation of a Real Time Prescription Monitoring tool in addressing this serious health issue.
Fatal overdose rate linked to codeine doubled between 2000 and 2009, and such alarming statistics clearly highlights the urgent need to monitor patients who visit multiple stores and are at risk of developing addiction.
The Australian Self Medication Industry suggests that the rescheduling of codeine-based products to prescription only would cost Medicare $170 million a year due to unnecessary doctor’s appointments. (ref)
In ensuring that consumers use these medicines safely and effectively, it is crucial for both the Government and the Therapeutic Goods Administration to not only include a mandatory Real Time Prescription Monitoring tool but more importantly facilitate access to education materials.
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