Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for winter

Medicines containing pseudoephedrine are effective in treating colds and flus. File photo.

Medsafe has approved 11 cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

Pharmaceutical suppliers have indicated they may be able to supply the first products in June.

“This is much earlier than the original expectation of medicines being available by 2025,” says Associate Health Minister David Seymour.

“The Government recognised that New Zealanders want these medicines for winter, and we've done our part in achieving this by changing the law swiftly and overseeing a fast approval process by Medsafe.

“The only step left is for pharmaceutical companies to get the medicines to our shores, which they’ve indicated they can do by winter.”

Seymour says this accessibility will be a real relief to New Zealanders suffering from colds and flu this winter.

He says people will be able to access the same effective cold and flu medicines that are available in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Misuse of Drugs (Pseudoephedrine) Amendment Bill passed its final reading unanimously in the House this week.

The bill reclassifies pseudoephedrine from a Class B to a Class C controlled drug. Along with changes to the Medicines Regulations 1984, this means New Zealanders will be able to purchase cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine from a pharmacy without a prescription.

“New Zealanders have been denied decent cold and flu medication for years because of a misguided ban caused by 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.

“Safeguards will remain in place to prevent misuse. It will retain its status as a controlled drug and a precursor substance. While restrictions on importing and exporting these medicines are still in place, and New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs are able to seize illicit products.

“The coalition government has delivered 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.”

For more information see the Ministry of Health’s website: Pseudoephedrine cold and flu medicines | Ministry of Health NZ

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