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Parliamentary questions
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6 February 2018
Question for written answer E-000714-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Mireille D'Ornano (EFDD)

 Subject:  Over-the-counter sale of codeine-based drugs
 Answer in writing 

Codeine is a widely used painkiller. It is taken on its own or with aspirin or ibuprofen and is subject to Member States’ authorisation procedures and regulations. According to a 2015 article in the journal Public Health (Foley M. et al.), only 15 of 28 Member States had banned the over-the-counter sale of codeine-based drugs by the end of 2014. France has since banned it, in a ministerial decree of 12 July 2017. However, that broad range of national legislation enables EU citizens to obtain codeine-based drugs in every Member State.

Selling codeine-based drugs over the counter leads to misuse in the form of self-medication. What is more, the European Medicines Agency recommended (on 28 June 2013) that children under 12, breastfeeding women and ultra-rapid metabolisers should not take codeine.

Codeine is also being used as a recreational drug: misuse caused two deaths in France in 2017, which in turn resulted in the above ministerial decree being issued.

Will the Commission investigate the consequences on health of the sale of codeine in the European Union and publish recommendations on regulating it?

Original language of question: FR 
Last updated: 22 February 2018Legal notice