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Chemists Brace For Angry Customers As Codeine Ban Kicks Off This Week

No more over-the-counter sales

Chemists Brace For Angry Customers As Codeine Ban Kicks Off This Week Image: Pexels

Over-the-counter codeine bans are kicking in this week and Aussie pharmacies are being warned they could face some pretty irate customers.

Starting on Thursday, you’ll need a doctor’s script for products like Panadeine or Nurofren Plus, a move prompted by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) back in December 2016 to reign in misuse of the drug.

Despite a year’s lead time on the change, Pharmacy Guild of Australia spokesperson Greg Turnbull expects some people to still be taken by surprise.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible health professionals we have,” he told Nine News.

"So lots of people go to a pharmacy for their needs as their first port of call and many people are used to being able to buy these medicines over the counter.

“They may well express not only disappointment but anger if they are denied access to this medicine.”


Medical Journal of Australia research found the rate of codeine-related deaths in Australia more than doubled between 2000 and 2009.

Dr Bastian Seidel President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, told the ABC doctors now know codeine can be harmful when used for long term pain management.

"Nationally, we are seeing 150 people die each year because of codeine overdoses," Dr Seidel said.

"That is completely unacceptable in the 21st century, and it's time for us to take action."

The TGA recommends consumers speak with their GP for pain management treatment options given codeine will now not be so readily available.