Codeine law changes

My local pharmacist indicated his opinion, that the law will be reversed in six to twelve months because of all the unintended consequences. I can but hope.

While I keep hearing (some) doctors and politicians say that ‘low dose codeine does nothing for pain’, I suspect that these individuals have never really had to deal with pain. Aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen do a decent job in many people with low-level pain, but for a large proportion of the population they are insufficient to deal with our experienced pain. (Aspirin is the best of the lot, but comes with its own problems.)

While I am already on something stronger for chronic pain, millions of other Australians who have relied upon OTC painkillers to get through their day will now have to go to the doctor to get something that will enable them to function. I expect that this will result in many of them requesting and being prescribed stronger painkillers - because of course we all know that low doses of codeine don’t help (/sarcasm alert).

So more Australians will be taking stronger painkillers with more serious side-effects, all because a couple of people died through an overdose of ibuprofen or paracetamol that happened to contain the codeine they may actually have been after.

The TGA has chosen to ignore most of the advice it has received on this issue. The AMA has been happy to encourage the idiocy, in the knowledge that it will create greater demand for doctors (and of course greater pressure on them, on Medicare, and on the PBS, because these painkillers that were previously OTC will now be subsidised for many patients).

All up, I expect some major ‘unanticipated’ (and many anticipated but ignored) consequences - one of which will be that anything with codeine will now cost more as prescription medication.


One just need to look toward the USA that leads most of these ‘charges’. Evidence does not usually matter, politics and dogma do.


Here’s another scenario to consider. Whether it’s common or not I don’t know - but it affects BOTH my wife & I.

My wife has Crohns - her Doc makes sure she always has strong Codeine on hand. I occasionally have major back issue & stiff neck. Now when my Wife’s Crohns flares or I cop a back or neck incident - we have her stash on hand but often “previously” chose to use low dose first or instead. We “don’t” like taking the strong stuff unless we really “need” it & in BOTH her & my case the times we need it are only occasional but the last thing we want to do is leave the house to go anywhere! So if we didn’t have low dose obviously the partner would just go pick some up - Doh!

To me it’s just a major PIA both in convenience & cost, but we will likely be fine as due to my Wife’s condition I don’t see the Doc having any qualms at all giving her whatever she want - script for both low & high dose so she has it on hand.

Mind you at the same time I think we have been lucky; visited Japan a few times & try getting anything for pain in Japan LOL At the same time I really don’t believe this is going to help the problem that they have brought it in for in any way. If people want it & to abuse it they will find a way!!! full stop!!!