Whistle while you hurt – relieving a world of pain

By Ellen Singleton

21 March 2017

Unlike Vegemite or WiFi, the green whistle is one iconic Aussie innovation you don’t ever want to use - but it’s good to know it’s there when you need it!

Unlike Vegemite or WiFi, the green whistle is one iconic Aussie innovation you don’t ever want to use – but it’s good to know it’s there when you need it.

Remember when your mum told you not to ride on the handle bars of your friends pushy, and you did it anyway and subsequently fell and broke your leg (sorry Mum!)? And remember when those extremely kind ambos gave you a green whistle to help take the pain away? This might be an oddly specific example, but thousands of Aussies each year need these whistles when they fall off their bikes, injure themselves during footy or any other stereotypical Australian pastime. In fact, the green whistle (officially know as Penthrox) is administered during one in five ambulance trips across the country.

Most of us have (unfortunately) used the whistle or seen someone else relieving their pain with it. There are four key reasons why it’s great:

  1. It helps take the pain away
  2. It’s non addictive
  3. It lets people control their own medication
  4. It makes for some pretty great YouTube videos

Blowing our own whistle

So you know it’s green, it helps with pain and it’s not actually a whistle (you suck it in, not out, for those of you that haven’t used one!), but did you know we have a pretty big hand in making these sweet little pain-relievers?  We worked with Medical Developments International (MDI) to create the manufacturing process that’s used to produce the green whistle. Our processing chemists got together with MDI and developed a new method for manufacturing Methoxyflurane (the key ingredient) that speeds up the production process while cutting costs. The green whistle also beats out other analgesics, such as nitrous oxide and morphine, in that it is fast acting, self-administered, non-addictive, non-narcotic and very safe to use. In fact, MDI is the only company on the planet making Penthrox, which means they’re a pretty hot commodity.

It turns out that it’s not just Aussies that need a bit of pain relief, our friends around the world are pretty accident prone too! After selling millions of whistles in Australia, the world-wide need for pain relief has meant that this Aussie innovation has gone global. To help keep up with the demand MDI has opened up an even bigger and better factory – drawing in a good feeling into the local economy.

So be safe out there folks – but just in case you do end up sucking on the whistle, know you’ve got a tasty Aussie innovation in your mouth.

Check out more of our tasty biomedical innovations here (we just can’t guarantee that you can put these ones in your mouth!).