28 Sep 2010

Coroner urges changes to sleeping pill prescribing

3:01 pm on 28 September 2010

Wellington's coroner is recommending changes to how doctors prescribe certain sleeping pills following the suicide of a prominent real estate agent.

Ian Smith's recommendation follows his inquest into Margo McAuley's death in 2008.

He says while Ms McAuley did not die from an overdose, her doctor had told the inquest she had been taking more of the sleeping drug Zopiclone than prescribed.

In August, government drug-buying agency Pharmac allowed repeat dispensing of drugs like Zopiclone.

Mr Smith says while one repeat of the prescription may be requested by phone or from a nurse, there should be no more until the patient has seen a doctor. He is urging the Ministry of Health to review repeat dispensing.