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Success in closing source of methamphetamine

Pharmacy successful in closing source of methamphetamine (P) ingredients

The Pharmaceutical Society is pleased that greater vigilance by its members is making it harder for criminals to buy pseudoephedrine-containing flu and allergy medicines from pharmacies, said Richard Townley, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (Incorporated).

A report by Massey University Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation prepared for the New Zealand Police and released today shows that the greater vigilance now exercised over the sale of pseudoephedrine medicines from pharmacies has reduced the attractiveness of this source of amphetamine precursors and created a need for alternative strategies by organised criminal groups.

The Society says its members have responded quickly and responsibly to the issue after police first confirmed that criminals were accessing the ingredients this way to manufacture methamphetamine. Requesting photo ID of customers and close liaison with local police has helped deal with the issue.

Feedback in the report on the socio-economic impact of amphetamine type stimulants in NZ confirms that restrictions imposed by pharmacists have had considerable impact, with almost half of drug users surveyed in the report noting that it is now harder to get the raw materials from pharmacies. Pharmacists have had to bear the cost and risk of upholding their ethical standards in imposing these controls.

The controls will complement tougher laws coming into effect tomorrow (15 October) that will control the unlicensed importation of pseudoephedrine. However, it is disappointing that other changes in the new regulations will soon require over the counter medicines containing pseudoephedrine to be labelled with the words Controlled Drug, instead of Pharmacy Medicine as they are now. This will add unnecessary cost and likely reduce the range of flu and allergy medicines available in this country.

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