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on codeine-based analgesics. No mention
was made of AFT Pharmaceuticals or
the company ’s codeine-free product
Maxigesic®. The survey received 1,022
responses. “Frankly, we didn’t really know
what to expect” admits Dr Atkinson.
“ When the results were given to us we were
a little bit blown away.”
The survey results showed that:
• 72% of respondents said they were
either somewhat concerned, or very
concerned, about the potential for adverse
consequences resulting from the ordinary
use of codeine-based analgesics (Fig. 1).
• 99% said they were either somewhat
concerned, or very concerned, about the
potential for adverse consequences
resulting from the misuse of
codeine-based analgesics (Fig. 2).
• 92% either somewhat agreed, or strongly
agreed, when asked whether they
thought codeine combinations are used
too often by consumers and patients in
Australia (Fig. 3).
• 78% either somewhat agreed, or strongly
agreed, with further restrictions
being imposed on the availability of
codeine-based analgesics (Fig. 4).
Dr Atkinson says that these results suggest
that many pharmacists across Australia
have concerns about codeine-based
analgesics. “ That nearly three-quarters of
respondents have concerns about adverse
consequences from ordinary usage within
guidelines is quite a statement. For virtually
all respondents to be expressing concern
about the potential for misuse for an
S3 category product is equally significant.
On top of that, there is also a strong view
among pharmacists that codeine-based
analgesics are used too often in this country.”
“ These results give us a lot of comfort as a
company. Whenever we raise the issue of
codeine in analgesics, we open ourselves
to the criticism that we are simply trying to
advance sales of our Maxigesic® product.
But these results show that many Australian
pharmacists share these concerns. So we’re
prepared to embrace a new generation
of analgesic remedies that do not rely
on repeating the same methods of
Dr Atkinson says that he appreciates the
time pharmacists took to complete the
survey and their willingness to share their
thoughts. “ We were very eager to know
what pharmacists thought about the
issue. The results have enhanced our own
confidence in Maxigesic® and reinforces
our decision to go down the non-
codeine development route. So from
our point of view the survey was a very
worthwhile exercise. Hopefully, the results
are also useful for pharmacists in terms
of providing information to customers
seeking a pain relief option that does not
1. Browne R. Codeine crackdown: Push to tackle abuse.
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trial comparing acetaminophen, acetaminophen
and ibuprofen, and acetaminophen and codeine for
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5. Daniels S, Goulde M, Aspley S, Reader S. A randomised,
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AFT Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd commissioned
Cannings Corporate Communications to
survey 6,800 head pharmacists in retail
pharmacies nationwide. The response rate
for this survey was 15%.
AFT Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, Sydney. Patent No. 2005260243.
For more information on Maxigesic® visit
Dr Atkinson says that AFT Pharmaceuticals
is not content with simply pointing out
problems. “I’m a believer in the adage that
you should not criticise without putting
forward a solution. Having a non-opioid
analgesic is the very reason why we put
all our energy into developing Maxigesic®
in the first place. We always took the
view that people should have the option
of a combination OTC pain reliever for
their families that does not carry risks of
dependence. Again, these survey results
indicate that many pharmacists share
“Society advances by improving
on what we have done in the past,”
says Dr Atkinson. “Our recent research has
now produced alternative OTC painkillers
that do not use codeine.
And it seems that despite codeine-based
combinations traditionally dominating
the OTC painkiller market, perceptions are
changing. When pharmacists were asked
in the survey whether paracetamol-
ibuprofen combination products could
be a suitable alternative to codeine-based
combinations, 69% of respondents either
agreed or strongly agreed.
Dr Atkinson says this finding shows
that pharmacists have confidence in
the efficacy of non-codeine analgesics.
“ This is important because pharmacists
need to have confidence in a product
like Maxigesic® if they are to recommend
it to customers. It is also symbolically
important as it shows pharmacists are
proven to provide
more pain relief
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