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Alternative to pseudoephedrine approved for sale

9 February 2005

Alternative to pseudoephedrine approved for sale

Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton today welcomed news that the Medicines Classification Committee has recommended that tablet forms of the decongestant phenylephrine should be available for sale over-the-counter.

Phenylephrine has similar decongestant properties to pseudoephedrine, but it cannot be converted into the illegal and dangerous drug, methamphetamine or P.

"This is good news for people who have a legitimate use for these sorts of decongestants and good news for pharmacists who will be able to stock products that don't have any value to the illicit drug fraternity," the Progressive leader said.

Jim Anderton said that Phenylephrine can already be sold over-the-counter in liquid forms in New Zealand, but this new classification means that the pill and capsule forms of decongestants preferred by most adults will be more easily available in the future.

Although we have no tablet or capsule products containing phenylephrine available in New Zealand, Medsafe is currently evaluating a number of applications for decongestant products containing this medication in combination with other medicines used to treat the symptoms of coughs and colds.

The first of these applications is likely to be granted consent to be sold in pharmacies or other appropriate retail outlets in the near future.

The medication has been available for general sale in the United Kingdom for several years and there hasn't been any sign of it being abused by recreational drug users, or that it has caused significant safety concerns.

More information is available from the Medsafe website:

http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs.htm under Minutes of Medicines Classification Committee


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