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Consumers find relief in OTC cough medicines

October 15, 2012

Consumers find relief in OTC cough medicines

Better health for New Zealanders through the development of responsible self-medication

New Zealanders have been safely using a range of over-the-counter (OTC) remedies to alleviate and relieve cough symptoms for more than 30 years and there is ample evidence the products work, according to the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry (NZSMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products.

NZSMI executive director, Tim Roper, says that while many of the ingredients in OTC cough medicines were developed some time ago, they have been used for many years and there is significant efficacy data to conclude such products work.

“If these OTC products didn’t work people wouldn’t continue to buy them,” he says.

Mr Roper cites research conducted for the Proprietary Association of Great Britain in 2005 which showed 86 percent of sufferers used OTC cough mixtures to treat their coughs while 8 percent sought medicines from a doctor or pharmacist.

Mr Roper’s comment follows a recent New Zealand media report questioning the efficacy of OTC cough medicines.

“There is plenty of clinical evidence that the active ingredients in cough mixtures provide relief to the symptoms of coughs and therefore a benefit to consumers.

“Our medicines regulators have conducted recent reviews of the safety and efficacy of these products and, although they have acted with regard to the safety of these products in young children, and the industry has cooperated on this matter, they have not considered it necessary to act with regard to efficacy.”

Mr Roper says individual OTC medicines suppliers are also responsible for the claims they make about their products and must follow his industry’s Code of Conduct and Medsafe regulations.

About SMI
The New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association Inc (SMI) is the national trade association representing manufacturers, marketers and distributors of a wide range of products, generally available "over-the-counter" (OTC) and mainly for use in self-medication by New Zealand consumers. SMI’s mission is to promote better health through responsible self-care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self-care products are readily available to all New Zealanders at a reasonable cost. SMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy.


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