The very sensible MacDoctor disagrees with the decision. He blogs:
Unfortunately Mr. Key is being poorly advised on this matter by his science advisor, Peter Gluckman – who has no medical qualifications, BTW
The strike through is after a commenter pointed out Sir Peter actually graduated medical school, and spent two years as a doctor before going into research. He is also a former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland.
Once again, I link to a real scientific study on phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine so the Sir Peter can actually read something useful on the subject. There are dozens of others, but this one is freely available to be read in full. All the scientific evidence (as opposed to the anecdotal ones) shows that phenylephrine is essentially useless as a nasal decongestant. If you want relief from your cold, you are going to have to use pseudoephedrine. All that making this a prescription item will do is make the treatment of a cold more expensive for people. It will also move the monitoring of drug seekers from the pharmacy to the GP, who is even less likely to spot the serial script seeker. “Shoppers” for pseudoephedrine will just move from doctor to doctor, gathering scripts.
Stuff also reports dissent:
Tags: MacDoctor, P, Peter Gluckman
The Pharmaceutical Society’s chief pharmacist adviser, Euan Galloway, said the proposed replacement, phenylephrine – which Mr Key said was a “safe and effective alternative” – was not as good.
“Ask any community pharmacist and they’ll tell you they may make one sale [of a phenylephrine medicine], but never again,” Mr Galloway said.
Phenylephrine had a very high “first past metabolism effect”, which meant most of the drug was metabolised or rendered inactive before it reached the parts of the body where it was needed.