AMA backs TGA on Codeine

10 Aug 2017

The AMA this week reiterated its support for the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) decision to make codeine a ‘prescription only’ medicine from 1 February 2018.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said that the AMA fully supports the independence of the TGA in making decisions about medicines scheduling, including for codeine.

 “There is compelling evidence to support the decision to make codeine prescription only,” Dr Gannon said.

The AMA is extremely concerned at recent reports of some groups endeavouring to influence or coerce State governments to change, delay, or dilute the impact of the TGA decision.

“This is not in a patient’s best interest. It goes against the decision made by the independent regulator."

The evidence shows that pharmacist control of codeine use does not work. Codeine-related deaths continued to rise when pharmacists were given responsibility for ensuring safe non-prescription codeine sales in 2010.

Dr Gannon said “it is essential for public safety that the TGA is allowed and supported to make 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. The codeine decision was made by independent experts whose only interest is what is best for Australians and their health."

“We call on all those who work in the wider health community – including pharmacy – to quickly implement the changes that are necessary,” Dr Gannon said.

Media Release