#HealthCanada, #HealthManotoba, #JanePhilpott, #codeine, #Ontario, #Dr.DavidJuurlink
Ottawa, Sep 12 (IBNS): Following last year’s example of Manitoba Health, Health Canada -- department of the government of Canada with responsibility for national public health – had decided to move forward to ban over-the-counter sales of low-dose codeine medication, a widely used opioid linked to abuse and dependency, media reports said.
Any medications containing codeine, reported Health Canada, would be available to the public only with a doctor's prescription, CBCNews Reports said.
Canadians had reportedly been asked to comment on Health Canada's proposed regulations until Nov. 8.
Although the health-care system would be greatly burdened by this move, reported Health Canada, patients would be getting better medical advice about using codeine.
Dr. David Juurlink, a drug safety researcher at the University of Toronto, who had for long advocated for a prescription-only model, was reported to say that low-dose codeine products have little medical purpose.
Dr. David Juurlink: Facebook
Juurlink had tweeted: 1. Codeine is an irrational drug; 2. OTC codeine is crazy; 3. ASA/acetaminophen ↑ toxicity; 4. Canada should undo this
Jane Philpott, the then Health Minister of Canada, had stressed last year itself that rules on over the counter codeine should be tightened and had said,
"While a prescription may not be needed today, codeine can produce drug dependence and has the potential for being abused. This practice must be stopped, and so I will also introduce regulatory changes that will propose requiring a prescription for low-dose codeine products," Philpott told a Toronto conference in June 2016.
Dr. Jane Philpott: Facebook
According to official reports, in 2015 about 600 million low-dose codeine tablets, or about 20 for every person in the country, were sold in Canada.
It was also reported that between 2007 and 2015 more than 500 people in Ontario alone were admitted in addiction treatment centres due to adverse effects caused with non-prescription codeine.
Low-dose codeine tablets should be kept behind the counter at drugstores and pharmacists are also supposed to carefully monitor the sales of this medication.
But in spite of reported warnings from medical experts for decades about the potential harm of codeine, A Toronto Star investigation in 2015 reportedly found sale of more than 100 codeine products in Canada, and about half of them without prescription.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)