Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist April 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
would severely disadvantage those who
want to use OTC codeine to manage
acute pain. OTC codeine is a popular
choice for managing many acute pain
conditions; however there is no clear
evidence to suggest that low‐dose
codeine combination products provide
superior analgesia to ibuprofen or
may not be required for adequate
A disadvantage to the quarantining of
codeine would be the financial impact on
pharmacies if this significant proportion
of the analgesic range was removed.
Another point worth considering would
be the added pressure on GPs, who many
consider to be stretched for time already.
There is also the increased possibility
that a greater proportion of patients
will begin doctor‐shopping to obtain
and subsequently misuse codeine.
This suggests that quarantining codeine
also has limitations.
Unfortunately there is no clear or simple
solution to the codeine conundrum
as both intervening and quarantining
have significant issues which limit their
success. The main aim of this article is to
point out the elephant in the room that
so many of us try our hardest to ignore.
The pressure is building in our industry
and the walls are closing in. Soon that
elephant will grow too big to ignore.
We need to act now and campaign for
more attention to be brought to this issue
before this codeine conundrum becomes
a codeine crisis.
1. Murnion BP. Combination analgesics in adults.
Aust Prescr 2010;33:113–5 .
12/03/14 3:16 PM
MMR changes dishearten
The National Australian Pharmacy
Students’ Association (NAPSA) has urged
the Australian Government to extend
the budget for medication management
programs funded under the Fifth
Community Pharmacy Agreement in
response to the changes announced
The new capping arrangements have
left pharmacy students feeling further
disheartened about the employment
opportunities that will be available
NAPSA President, Xavier Agostino, said:
‘We currently have a situation where
the demand for evidenced‐based
professional services such as Home
Medicine Reviews and MedsChecks
cannot be met. The finite pool of
funding available to provide these
services is simply too shallow to meet
the needs of patients.
‘ The MedsChecks initiative initially
created more jobs for young pharmacists
in the community pharmacy sector.
However, with a cap now in place, these
job opportunities will no longer be
available and pharmacists who have
been employed to help generate revenue
through the MedsCheck program may
not be needed.’
These changes had also forced
pharmacy students who aspire to
become consultant pharmacists to
reassess their career pathway.
‘With an increase in the number of
pharmacy graduates in recent times,
students have planned to differentiate
themselves by becoming an accredited
pharmacist after they complete their
tertiary studies. The cap on HMRs has
led many students to believe that
the opportunities as a consultant
pharmacist are now limited, therefore
concluding this career pathway is no
longer viable,’ Mr Agostino said.
‘ The Government has grossly
underinvested in medication
management programs and as a result
many stakeholders in our profession are
now bearing the consequences’.
To coincide with World Asthma Day on
6 May the National Face to Face series
will run the Asthma: Take action to make
a difference lectures and workshops.
The face to face format provides the
opportunity to share experiences from
not just educators, but also patients and
carers, to provide a powerful message.
The aim is to enhance the ability of
the pharmacist to deal with the ‘hard’
conversations around these areas –
improving their practice and the health
outcomes and quality of life for their
patients. Further details are available on
the PSA website.
The lecture dates are:
NSW: 4 May, Victoria: 14 May, Tasmania:
Hobart 7 April, Queensland: 24 May,
SA/NT: 6 July, ACT: 8 April, WA: 2 July.
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