The National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC) in Australia has proposed stricter controls on controls on over-the-counter painkillers containing codeine. These new rules are due to come into existence in May next year, but pharmacists say they are only going to worsen the situation.
"These changes alone are unlikely to influence individual misuse behaviour," said Kos Sclavos, the President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. "The shift to `pharmacist only' ... and to smaller pack sizes will only see some at-risk people move to multiple packs and resort to pharmacy shopping."
The committee has proposed that 100mg of codeine is the recommended daily dose, while consumers will get just five days supply at one time.
Excessive use of codeine may lead to perforated stomach ulcers, renal failure and even death.