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Government Delivers Greater Freedom And Choice For Sick New Zealanders

Hon David Seymour

Associate Minister of Health

The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines.

A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines Regulations 1984 are being made, to reclassify pseudoephedrine, Associate Health Minister David Seymour says.

“Cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine will be reclassified from prescription to restricted medicines, which will allow the public to purchase these medicines from a pharmacy without a prescription.

“Pseudoephedrine was banned because of fears it would be used for methamphetamine production. The reality is that the gangs have far more effective ways of obtaining pseudoephedrine to manufacture methamphetamine and we should tackle these head on instead.

“Alternative cold and flu medicines have been shown to be no more effective than a placebo. New Zealanders are being denied decent cold and flu medication, but the gangs are selling more methamphetamine than ever.

“The current law isn’t working and that’s why the government is acting.

“The use of these medicines will still be subject to a level of oversight as consumers will be required to purchase them directly from a pharmacist. Restrictions on importing and exporting these medicines will also be retained.

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“I look forward to pharmaceutical companies applying to Medsafe for product approval in New Zealand. Medsafe is using an expedited process to approve the medicines as quickly as possible. Taking into account supply chains and the ability for companies to prepare products, it is expected the medication will be back on shelves in 2025.

“Removing the ineffective ban on the sale of pseudoephedrine is a principled decision to remove unnecessary red tape and give New Zealanders greater choice and freedom over their own lives.”

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