Largest-selling pain killer codeine-free

Codeine-free painkiller Maxigesic is now the largest-selling paracetamol-ibuprofen combination painkiller in Australian pharmacies, according to its manufacturer.

Weekly sales data from IRi (Australia) for the post-February, codeine-rescheduling time periods of February 5-18 shows Maxigesic sales now ahead of all other paracetamol-ibuprofen products at Australian pharmacies.

AFT Pharmaceuticals Managing Director Dr Hartley Atkinson said: “It also looks like our switching campaign has been a success with patients. The key message has been that Maxigesic is the only paracetamol-ibuprofen combination that, at full dose, provides better pain relief than either OTC paracetamol or ibuprofen alone. The sales data suggests this message has resonated with lots of people who are now looking for a codeine-free painkiller.”

Maxigesic has seen especially strong sales of the larger Schedule 3 Maxigesic 30s packs. Dr Atkinson says this is significant because it means that it’s pharmacists themselves who are recommending Maxigesic to patients.

While sales of Maxigesic in Australia have roughly doubled in a short time period since the beginning of this year, Dr Atkinson suggests these are early days in the post-OTC codeine market.

“Anecdotally, we know there are people who stockpiled codeine-based painkillers before the switching date. As those supplies run out, they’ll be coming into pharmacies to find an alternative painkiller. So, while the early signs are positive for us, there’s still a bit of settling to happen in the market long term.”