New advice for consumers about children’s cough and cold medicines

16 August 2012

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The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing evidence-based, non-prescription consumer healthcare products, today directed consumers to new advice and labelling for cough and cold medicines, particularly those affecting children.

ASMI Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director, Mr Steve Scarff said that over the coming months, consumers will notice different dosing instructions on the labels of cough and cold products for children.
Consumers are advised that:

  • Cough and cold medicines must not to be given to children under 6 years of age.
  • For children between 6 and 12 years of age, the advice of a pharmacist or doctor should be sought before giving the products to children.

Mr Scarff said that the new labels will no longer contain dose instructions for children under 6 years of age, which means that the medicines should not be used in children in this age group.

The new labels will also carry instructions that for use in children between the ages of 6 and 12, the advice of a doctor or pharmacist should be sought.

"Because there are no safety risks, the TGA has allowed cough and cold medicines with the old label instructions to be sold in pharmacies through to the end of their shelf life.
"Consumers are encouraged to ask their pharmacist if they have any concerns.
"It is worth bearing in mind that only the label instructions of these medicines have changed. The products are still the same. They can still be purchased from the same places and they can still be used by adults and children over 12 years of age."
Mr Scarff said the TGA's action was based on an assessment of the risks and benefits associated with these products.

As with all other medicines, it is important to take note of the label warnings and only use the products as directed. Consumers should read labels carefully, strictly follow all the directions and, if symptoms persist, consult a doctor or pharmacist.
About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak industry body for the Australian self care industry representing consumer healthcare products including over-the-counter medicines and complementary medicines. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self-care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self-care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy.

Media contact: Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications (02) 9241 2811, 0412 753 298