Why The Sale of Medicines Containing Codeine Has Been Restricted

By David Indeje / January 9, 2018

Why The Sale of Medicines Containing Codeine Has Been Restricted

Many Kenyans are wondering why the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has restricted the sale of medicines that contain codeine to prescription only.

Dr. Fred M. Siyoi, says “All medicines that contain codeine have been rescheduled from Pharmacy Only Medicines (P) to Prescription Only Medicine (POM) in an effort to minimise the risk of overuse and addiction. In this regard, they will no longer be sold in a pharmacy or chemist without a valid prescription from a duly registered medical practitioner.”


“…all marketing authorization holders should make arrangements within the next six (6) months to change packages of medicines that contain codeine to include clear and prominently positioned warnings on the label (primary and secondary package), summary product characteristics (SmPC) and patient information leaflet (PIL) about the risk of addiction, and the importance of not taking these medicines for longer than three days.”

According to Drugs.com, Codeine is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Codeine is used to treat mild to moderately severe pain.

“Codeine can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. Misuse of this medicine can cause addiction, overdose or death, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.

This medicine is not for use in children younger than 12 years old, and is not for use in anyone under 18 who recently had surgery to remove their tonsils.”

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board describes a valid prescription from a duly registered medical practitioner as one that contains:

Patient’s name, address and age;
Medical Practitioner’s name, address, and their registration number from Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board;
Medicine name, strength and their dosage form;
Quantity prescribed in words and the figures in brackets;
Signature of the Medical Practitioner handwritten using indelible ink.

About David Indeje

David Indeje is a writer and editor, with interests on how technology is changing journalism, government, Health, and Gender Development stories are his passion. Follow on Twitter @David_Indeje David can be reached on: (020) 528 0222 / Email: [email protected]

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