The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) says real-time monitoring of OTC codeine-containing analgesics, in addition to other targeted measures, including mandatory warning statements, reducing pack sizes and educational materials, provide the best chance to curb potential misuse.
The advice was in response to a report published in Addiction titled ‘Codeine Misuse in Australia’. ASMI welcomed the new report, saying more data on the topic was needed.
“This new report would have provided additional useful insights if the authors had separately examined the prescription and OTC products [instead of pooling them], because it has been reported that misuse and abuse of prescription opiate and psychoactive drugs have escalated significantly over the past several years,” ASMI Director Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Steve Scarff said.
The study authors themselves acknowledge that a real-time monitoring system could be an alternative to rescheduling and ASMI says it supports this view.
ASMI has been working with the Pharmacy Guild to develop and refine a real-time monitoring system (medsASSIST), which has been trialled in community pharmacy and is currently being implemented nationally. It records customer details, information about the supplied product, recent purchases and indications for supply or refusal.