OPINION: GP visit an unnecessary step for drug

THERE is little doubt misuse of prescription drugs is increasingly becoming a problem among several strata of society.

This hit the headlines again just recently with the hospitalisation of two rugby league players.

There is equally little doubt policy makers and health bodies are trying to reduce the strain on the primary health care system to ensure GPs are spending their time - and taxpayer money - wisely.

So it seems a little contradictory to put in place an interim measure that would require GPs to write a prescription for codeine-based drugs that pharmacists could probably manage equally well.

This would especially seem to be the case when systems already exist within the pharmacy network to monitor the purchase of certain drugs, such as pseudoephedrine.

There can be individual complications with any drug, but it appears to be an unnecessary step to ask people who want codeine drugs to first consult a doctor - the same doctors the Abbott government was trying to charge patients a co-payment to see to reduce abuse of a free system.



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