NZ Herald: Cold comfort for blocked noses

A feature in the Weekend Herald by senior features writer Chris Barton on the Government’s move to limit availability of cold and flu drugs containing pseudoephedrine.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

The B2 chill

“When Government makes pseudoephedrine a Class B2 controlled drug, you may still be able to get the re-classified cold medications, but the punitive process will have a chilling effect on the already chilled.

“Law abiding citizens will first have to go to an approved prescriber – most likely their GP.

“In order to prescribe a Class B2 medicine, a medical practitioner must write the prescription on a controlled drug prescribing pad, and the amount of medicine that can be prescribed is limited to 30 days supply.

“Controlled prescriber pads are in triplicate form with one copy going to the Ministry of Health.

“The Ministry of Health says reclassification of pseudoephedrine to Class B2 under the Misuse of Drugs Act does not automatically restrict access to the product to hospital pharmacies – as asserted by Gluckman in his report.

“Class B2 medicines can be dispensed from a community pharmacy, but pharmacies that do decide to stock the medicines will be required to store them in a locked safe and must record in their controlled drugs register each time they dispense a medicine.

“Pharmacists point out that such draconian restrictions will have the effect of taking pseudoephedrine-based medications off the market.

“The Government argues that most people suffering winter colds and flu either use no medication to manage the symptoms, or already use medication that contains no pseudoephedrine.”