All over the counter opiates should be made prescription only


In response to the following article:


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


Dear PIP Editor,


In New Zealand, all codeine products will be prescription-only from November 5th this year. This move means New Zealand will shortly follow Australia which went prescription only two years ago.


The harms and addiction with codeine outweigh the benefits of over the counter supply. There is no evidence that ibuprofen, and codeine combinations or paracetamol and codeine combinations produce better pain relief than ibuprofen and paracetamol combinations apart from the slight neuropathic pain advantage of codeine. Long term pain relief should be supervised by a GP or specialist.


As for the codeine linctus mentioned in this story it has never been available for sale in New Zealand. Gees linctus has recently been changed to prescription-only status because of the potential of abuse and addiction.


The Same people often continue to buy or request OTC opiates and can be very persuasive. The persistence can put pharmacists under pressure to supply.


It would be a good idea to make all opiates prescription only to reduce levels of addiction in the community and for regular uses of opiates to be better managed by GPs who can facilitate those people who are addicted to opiate addiction treatment centres.


Your etc,


Mark Robinson




New Zealand



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