Current consumer access to Ibuprofen appropriate

07 September 2017

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The Australian Self Medication Industry supports the current consumer access to ibuprofen. ASMI was responding to a proposal to re-schedule ibuprofen for consideration at the November meeting of the ACMS. OTC ibuprofen is available in supermarkets in Australia and around the world. The proposed rescheduling of ibuprofen to pharmacy-only would lead to Australia being out of step with comparable markets such as the UK, Canada, the US and New Zealand on ibuprofen access. 

Consumer access to effective pain relief is already limited in Australia (and will be restricted further next year when OTC codeine products become prescription only), there is no reason why consumer convenience and consumer choice on pain relief options should be further restricted. The proposed limitations on access are not appropriate and are not supported by evidence.

Steve Scarff, ASMI Regulatory and Legal Director, said: "OTC NSAIDs have a good safety profile and a long history of use, allowing people to access effective pain relief products for common problems of short duration, such as headache, toothache, sprains and strains," Mr Scarff said.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration recently completed a rigorous review of OTC NSAIDs, concluding that: "These drugs provide effective pain relief when used according to the label at recommended doses for short durations,"1  and that; "The use of OTC NSAIDs was safe when they were used according to the recommended doses for short durations, as instructed on the label."2

Mr Scarff says that it is important that consumers take note of the label warnings on NSAID medicines such as Ibuprofen and use them only as directed.  "These warnings advise consumers to first seek the advice of their pharmacist or doctor if they have certain existing health problems, require longer term treatment or if they are taking other medications."

"Consumers are entitled to the convenience of being able to purchase ibuprofen products when and where it suits them. The current scientific evidence shows that OTC ibuprofen doses are safe for short-term use, and current product labels include information to assist consumers to choose and use these products safely and effectively. Restricting consumer access to Ibuprofen would be a gross overregulation of a safe and effective medicine and such a move would be inconsistent with other markets around the world."

 

References 

1. https://www.tga.gov.au/sites/default/files/medicines-review-nsaid.pdf (at page 65)  

2. https://www.tga.gov.au/publication-issue/medicines-safety-update-volume-6-number-2-april-2015