Saturday, July 20, 2024

Govt to overturn pharmacy pseudoephedrine ban

Associate Health Minister, David Seymour says the government is delivering on its commitment to cut red tape to give sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines.

The Government will this week bring a law to Parliament that will reverse the ban on over-the-counter pseudoephedrine.

“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,” said Mr Seymour.

“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.”

The Minister said 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,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Seymour said he looked forward to pharmaceutical companies applying to Medsafe for product approval in New Zealand.

He said Medsafe was 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,” the Minister said.

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