Pseudoephedrine

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key is proposing to combat the drug P by banning its main ingredient, pseudoephedrine, from use in over-the-counter cold and flu tablets.

Mr Key’s first task for his chief science adviser, Professor Peter Gluckman, is to investigate “whether it is possible for New Zealand to eliminate pseudoephedrine in the making of cold and flu tablets”.

Mr Key said he was surprised by the amount of methamphetamine – known as P – being made from locally obtained pseudoephedrine.

I’d have no idea about how important pseudoephedrine is in cold and flu tablets, but sounds like an ideal first issue for the Chief Science Adviser.

The pseudoephedrine ban Mr Key is considering would supersede the much-discussed option of a national computer register that would alert police to suspicious cold and flu tablet purchases.

Police support such a register, but no progress has been made despite almost 10 years of discussions.

But many committee meetings no doubt!

Pharmacy Guild chief executive Annabel Young said the alternatives to pseudoephedrine were not nearly as effective in dealing with cold symptoms.

She said much of the locally produced methamphetamine was made from Contac NT smuggled in from China and restricting access to over-the-counter pseudoephedrine products would not stop this.

But Gisborne pharmacist David Moore, who refuses to stock pseudoephedrine, gave the Herald a list of 11 tablets using alternative ingredients such as phenyleprine that he said were just as effective.

No surprise there is a difference in views – otherwise no need to have the CSA investigate and report on it.

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