The Consumer Protection Council has warned chemists and pharmacists against dispensing drugs containing codeine without prescription.
Those included in this category, according to a statement from the agency, include cough syrup, cough suppressants and pain relievers.
The statement read in part, “Currently, and in exercise of the regulatory authority of The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, expectorants/cough syrups containing codeine may not be dispensed as non-prescriptive Over the Counter medication.
“As such, it is illegal and a violation of law to attempt to purchase as well as dispense any such medication, unless exclusively in accordance with prescription by a qualified and legitimate medical practitioner.
“Any possession, delivery or provision of these medications in the absence of a prescription, or legal acquisition, but dispensing to a person other than whom it is specifically prescribed for, is a violation of law, constitutes drug abuse, and presents significant medical risks including possible injury, risky behaviour, addiction, and in extreme cases (especially pediatrics), fatality.”
The agency noted that codeine had demonstrated adverse effects when taken with alcohol or carbonated drinks.
It added, “These methods of mixtures negatively interact and have become a serious and dangerous pattern which pose significant risks of debilitating side effects including respiratory difficulties, nervous system deficiencies and mental impairment.
“Emerging professional medical and regulatory preference is to prohibit the prescription of cough medication containing codeine to minors because of its properties and propensity to promote addiction and other exposure to illegal drug use.”