Pharmacist claiming of paracetamol 500mg + codeine 30mg tablet prescriptions from 1 June

Page last updated: 1 June 2020

Commencing 1 June 2020, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings for opioid medicines will change. Included in these changes, are specific amendments to the PBS items for paracetamol 500 mg + codeine 30mg combination tablets that will affect the way outstanding repeats for this product can now be claimed from 1 June.

What do these changes involve?

In response to concerns regarding the high number of deaths and hospitalisations due to prescription opioids, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended changes to PBS opioid listings to assist with the appropriate use of opioid medicines for the treatment of pain.

The changes include amendments to existing restriction requirements and arrangements for increased quantities and repeats. Specifically, paracetamol 500mg + codeine 30mg tablets will continue to be available under PBS item code (1215Y) for the treatment of pain, with new arrangements in addition to new item codes. The previous PBS item code (8785J) for paracetamol 500mg + codeine 30mg tablet products will no longer exist on the PBS or within pharmacy dispensing software.  

What does this mean for pharmacists?

For prescriptions written for paracetamol 500mg + codeine 30mg tablets prior to 1 June and claimed on or after 1 June, pharmacists will need to claim under item code 1215Y. This will assist in allowing a smooth transition to the new listing arrangements for opioids. Pharmacists will need to acknowledge the mismatch warning code presented (W 162/W 163) and keep sufficient information relating to the claimed prescription. Pharmacists are also encouraged to advise patients of the changes that have been made to relevant opioid PBS listings and encourage them to seek further information from their prescriber at their next visit.