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Medicine Ban Ridiculous, Knee-Jerk Reaction

Medicine Ban Ridiculous, Knee-Jerk Reaction

Waitemata DHB member Warren Flaunty's suggestion, to ban over-the-counter sales of cold and cough remedies containing pseudoephedrine in the DHB's catchment area, is absolutely ridiculous, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Mr Flaunty's suggestion is a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that pseudoephedrine is commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamines, most commonly the street drugs Speed and Pure," Mrs Roy said.

"What this mean, however, is that the vast majority of people - who use these medicines correctly - will now have to visit a doctor, get a prescription and pay for a pharmacy to dispense a medication they could, previously, have purchased on the way to work. With winter colds just beginning, this idea is absolutely ridiculous.

"Many Auckland pharmacies already voluntarily monitor the sale of these remedies, listing the customer's name and details, and handing them on to police. Many pharmacies also have a policy of selling only one pseudoephedrine item at a time. They are well aware of the drug problem, and have taken steps to assist police in identifying potential criminals.

"If Waitemata DHB were serious about attacking the methamphetamine problem, it would be encouraging the Government to fast-track the reclassification of methamphetamines as a class-A drug, and to increase police resourcing. It would also be supporting the measures that local pharmacies have already taken, and acknowledging the good work they are already doing.

"Instead, however, the DHB joining this Government's attempt to ban anything and everything that is remotely dangerous - to the detriment of the wider, law-abiding community.

"Waitemata DHB is punishing the majority for the actions of the few. It is discouraging patients from taking personal responsibility for their own medication, and belittling pharmacies' contribution to solving the methamphetamine crisis," Mrs Roy said.

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