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12 Oct 2017

The AMA welcomed the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) decision to make codeine a prescription-only medicine from 1 February 2018, but is now concerned at the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s decision to lobby State and Territory Governments to undermine that ruling.

The Guild recently announced it had support from States and Territories to exploit a loophole and avoid compliance with the TGA decision by allowing pharmacies to circumvent the ruling. The State and Territory Health Ministers have now written to the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, asking him to work with stakeholders to address ‘unintended consequences’ of upscheduling codeine. The AMA warned earlier this year about lobbyists attempting to influence State and Territory Government’s to change or delay the impact of the TGA decision.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, has spoken on ABC Radio Melbourne about the Guild’s actions.

“[The Guild is] lobbying politicians hard, they're very well resourced, but they're wrong on this. And we will continue to make the case that this was a good decision, it's long overdue. Codeine is a harmful drug. And do you know what? It's not even that good a painkiller, there are better alternatives.”

Mr Hunt has previously advised Dr Gannon that the Federal Government will ‘stay the course’, and uphold the TGA’s ruling on codeine.

In a media release, Dr Gannon reiterated the importance of an independent TGA in making decisions about medicines scheduling.

“It is essential for public safety that the TGA makes evidence-based decisions about medicines, free from political interference and sectional interests. As doctors, we rely on the independence and expertise of the TGA to ensure Australians have access to safe, effective, and high quality medicines.”

“We will be urging the Pharmacy Guild and others groups who seek to undermine the TGA to reconsider their actions and put the health of Australians first,” Dr Gannon said

ABC Radio Melbourne Transcript

Media Release


Published: 12 Oct 2017