Doctors will be swamped with new codeine laws
AN IMPENDING ban on over-the-counter codeine products will put further pressure on Bundaberg GP waiting lists and do nothing to stop people addicted to the drug from getting them.
That's the assessment from Crofton St Pharmacy owner Campbell Gradon.
From February 1, patients seeking codeine-based drugs such as Panadeine Extra, Nurofen Plus and Panafen Plus will need a prescription.
Lots of people use codeine safely and appropriately to deal with migraines, toothache and period pain.
Mr Gradon said such customers would now need to go to their GPs.
"If you have a sore tooth, the mild over-the-counter products may not provide relief and they will need to go to the doctor," Mr Gradon said.
"Doctors are going to be seeing a lot more acute patient consultations, adding to their workload.
"This could and should be managed by pharmacies."
Bundaberg pharmacies have been using a real-time recording and monitoring system for medicines containing codeine called Medsassist.
It's a voluntary system developed in response to concerns over patient safety relating to the medicines.
Unfortunately, doctors have no such system and Mr Gradon believes this could lead to doctor shopping.
"Without a mandatory recording system people (addicted to codeine) will still slip through the cracks," he said.
Mr Gradon said the Federal Government was concerned about codeine addiction but all it had done with this legislation was change the source from pharmacists to doctors.
But Mr Gradon said there were benefits to chronic pain sufferers.
"This will be a good thing in the long-term because doctors have a better skill set to deal with chronic pain," he said.
"Patients will need to move to a more effective pain relief program."
Mr Gradon said pharmacies were already low on supply as some drug companies had stopped supplying codeine medication.