Over-the counter codeine products will be prescription only from 1 February 2018.

What's changing?

Over-the counter codeine products will be prescription only from 1 February 2018. This decision has been made by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), based on the evidence and advice provided through a lengthy consultation period with health professionals, industry, patients and health peak bodies.

What can you do to prepare?

  • Start having the conversations with your patients now
  • Access various training and resources before 1 February 2018
  • Hand out consumer resources
  • Familiarize yourself with local treatment services
  • Learn about pharmacotherapy – contact North West Melbourne Pharmacotherapy Network.
  • Be aware of the supports available to you.
Visit the VPHNA website for information about changes and links to resources. See the following factsheets for targeted information:

Health Pathways Melbourne

HealthPathways Melbourne provides evidenced-based information and referral pathways on:
  • Pain Management Referrals
  • Prescribing drugs of dependence
  • Opioid Conversion Guidelines
  • Migraine


  • As codeine becomes prescription only and as Real-Time Prescription Monitoring/SafeScript is introduced, more people will be diagnosed with opioid dependence.
  • These patients may benefit from pharmacotherapy/Opioid Replacement Therapy (ORT).
  • Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) is evidence-based and appropriate for dependence on over-the-counter codeine, prescription opioids or illicit opioids.
  • All GPs may prescribe Suboxone to up to 5 patients without completing prescriber training
  • Click here to view a webinar about prescribing Buprenorphine/Naloxone
We strongly encourage:
  • GPs to become approved prescribers of pharmacotherapies by completing the two training modules provided by RACGP and registering with DHHS
  • Pharmacies to become approved suppliers of pharmacotherapies by applying for permission from DHHS.
  • The North West Melbourne Pharmacotherapy Network is available to assist and guide you as you set up and implement your pharmacotherapy program.

Education and events


Amy Durmanic, Quality Use of Medicines, amy.durmanic@nwmphn.org.au or (03) 9347 1188 Brad Pearce, AOD, brad.pearce@nwmphn.org.au or (03) 9347 1188 Grant Liptrot, North West Melbourne Pharmacotherapy Network, Grant.Liptrot@cohealth.org.au or (03) 9448 6303