Published: June 2010

Codeine - classification and labelling changes

Prescriber Update 31(2): 15
June 2010

Changes are being made to the classification and labelling of codeine containing medicines following the recommendations of the Medicines Classification Committee (MCC).

These changes will mean that:

The codeine classification changes will come into effect on 4 October 2010. The deadline for labelling changes to be in place is 1 May 2011. This date has been agreed with industry and aligns with the timeframe for changes to labels on cough and cold medicines. This timeline means label changes can be made without disrupting the supply of these medicines.

The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand has recently issued advice to pharmacists that all codeine containing medicines, regardless of indication, should now be moved behind the counter so as not to be available for self selection.

The change in classification does not apply to codeine containing medicines indicated for cough and colds, which will remain Pharmacy Only medicines.