Pholcodine medicine must be off the shelves

8 March 2023

The deadline is today for pharmacists to remove all cough medicine containing the ingredient pholcodine from pharmacy shelves.

On Tuesday, February 28, the TGA ordered a cancellation of medicines containing the ingredient after a link was found between pholcodine containing medicines and an increased risk to anaphylactic reactions to certain medicines used as muscle relaxants during general anaesthesia.

The deadline for pharmacists to remove cough medicine products containing pholcodine was set for March 8 following the product recall by the TGA.

The recall affects 55 products including some household brands such as:

  • Actifed CC Dry Cough
  • Benadryl Dry Tickly Cough
  • Duro-Tuss Dry Cough Liquid Regular
  • Bisolvon Dry Forte
  • Chemists’ Own Dry Tickly Cough
  • Gold Cross Pholcodine Linctus
  • Amcal Cough Suppressant

In response to the recall The Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President, Professor Trent Twomey has told patients who have taken medicines with pholcodine not to panic.

"Patients should check the labels on any over-the-counter medicines they have at home. If they find their medicines do contain pholcodine, they should ask their pharmacist to suggest an alternative," he said.

The recall followed a review by the European Medicines Agency.

When issuing the cancellation of pholcodine, the TGA ordered its removal from shelves “as soon as possible” with a deadline of “no later” than March 8, 2023.

It also told the Pharmacy Guild that, “All pholcodine containing medicines will be removed from the ARTG on 29 March 2023 and therefore all supply of goods and advertising must cease before the cancellation takes effects.”

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The Guild


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Page last updated on: 08 March 2023