Interventions for reducing the prescribing of pharmaceutical opioids in Australia: are they effectively reducing opioid harm?

Suzanne Nielsen and Ting Xia
Med J Aust 2024; 220 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.52259
Published online: 1 April 2024

In response to concerns about prescription opioid overuse and related harms, a series of interventions to control their supply have been undertaken in Australia. In the analysis reported in this issue of the MJA,1 Koch and colleagues examined the impact of recent Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) changes, including halving pack sizes for immediate release opioids, typically used for treating acute pain; limiting repeat opioid prescriptions; and subsidising only smaller pack sizes of immediate release opioids. The authors found that in the year following these changes the reduction in opioid prescribing was greater than expected based on prior trends alone. They also found some evidence for a shift from PBS‐subsidised to private opioid prescriptions, which may explain some reductions in the dispensing of opioids, but not in overall supply.1

  • Monash Addiction Research Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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