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Coroner urges for laxatives to be pharmacist-only medication

A South Australian coroner has recommended that laxatives be classed as ‘pharmacist-only medications’ following the death of a 28 year old woman.

Coroner Mark Johns acted to specifically draw the attention of the Pharmacy Board of Australia, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine to the excessive use laxatives. 

Mr Johns recommended that laxatives should only be available for purchase following consultation with a pharmacist. Ms La Bella, the deceased, weighed 35 kilograms at her death, and had allegedly been taking over 800 laxatives a day over a period of two years.  She had self-discharged from hospital 9 days before her death.

The coroner makes these recommendations under s 25(2) pf the Coroner’s Act 2003, suggesting that this may prevent or reduce the likelihood of a recurrence of a similar event.

You can read the coroner’s finding here.