Codeine should be sold for cough but with tighter restrictions


In response to the following article:


“GPhC sanction six pharmacies over ‘high volume’ codeine sales”


Dear PIP Editor,


There is not enough regulation around over the counter codeine and sales are too frequent. Codeine sales should be suitably counselled and monitored.


I think, however, that codeine should be sold as a cough remedy but with tighter restrictions. In an internet pharmacy, I have previously worked in, every sale is reviewed and checked against a database of customer information to ensure patients are not making multiple purchases. Identification is also checked. This reduces the risk of abuse or misuse.


If community pharmacies followed suit, or if there was a system nationally to support this process then this effective cough remedy could be sold safely.


Too many pharmacies sell opiates without effective counselling. In many pharmacies where I have locumed, the staff are accustomed to selling opiates dozens of times a day without advising the patient of the risk of addiction or even questioning if the product is necessary.


I do not agree with restricting opiates to prescription supply only. Making these products prescription-only would only cause an increased burden on the NHS.


GPs are already pestered into prescribing by patient’s who feel entitled to products readily available over the counter.


It is obvious to me that POM status does not solve these issues.


Yours etc.




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