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12 Oct 2017

AMA President Dr Michael Gannon

“…evidence shows that codeine is not that good an analgesic and doctors should be prescribing superior alternatives for acute pain, and codeine has no role in the management of chronic pain.”


“Too many people are found with codeine in their body at post mortem examinations. This is a harmful drug. It's hurting people, it's killing people.”


“There is compelling evidence to support the decision to make codeine prescription only.”


“We already know that pharmacist control of codeine use does not work.”


The Therapeutic Goods Administration's (TGA) Principal Medical Officer, Dr Tim Greenaway


"It's important that people realise that the decision's been taken based on safety predominantly and based on the risk of abuse."


"Medication that are available over the counter or through pharmacies should be substantially safe and not subject to abuse. This is clearly not the case with codeine."



President of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine, Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds


“Addiction specialists have seen the number of patients with addiction to over the counter codeine grow at an alarming rate.


Dr Michael Vagg, Deakin University School of Medicine, & Pain Specialist


“It’s also a pretty rubbish drug that doesn’t actually help people as much as they think it does.”


“Every hospital in Australia will tell you stories of addiction to such combined drugs (paracetamol and ibuprofen with codeine). You often see it in young women. Some have to be tube-fed because their guts are so damaged. Others have to go on dialysis because their kidneys are wrecked.”



Dr Jacinta Johnson, Principal Researcher at University of South Australia who led the Australian first study analysing the costs of 99 hospital admissions related to over-the-counter combination painkillers containing codeine (OTC-CACC) from 2010-2015 at a South Australian hospital.

"Apart from serious health issues relating to misuse of these over-the-counter painkillers, data shows us that lower doses of codeine found in OTC combination products don't actually provide any additional pain relief."


"There is no clear evidence that taking a low dose of codeine in combination with paracetamol or ibuprofen is any better than just taking the single-ingredient products without the codeine."


Dr Chris Hayes, Dean of the Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPM)

“For acute pain most of the studies show that the combination of paracetamol and anti-inflammatories works as well, if not better, and without the risks of codeine." 


"There's reasonable evidence to say with certain types of pain that if you go on for a week or more with opioids therapy then that leads to worse outcomes."




Published: 12 Oct 2017