Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prescription-only pseudoephedrine creates more problems

Making pseudoephedrine prescription-only is back in the media today. Having discussed this with my on-call pharmacist he puts up another objection. MacDoctor, quoted in the article, will no doubt also have considered this angle.

P cooks and crooks (or their agents) currently buy pseudoephedrine at the chemist. They are purchasing it in a peopled and open environment. There is safety and steadfastness in numbers. The potential for trouble caused by a refusal to sell is lower than when the same person attempts to get a prescription from an unwilling GP working essentially alone.

Making pseudoephedrine only available on prescription transfers, and potentially worsens the problem. I have posted before about the Oregon experience. Yet it seems to be Mr Key's favoured weapon in the war on 'P'.


Anonymous said...

The "problems" associated with illegal substances are never going to be solved. The drug culture is here to stay and is getting bigger better faster more.

As you have often alluded to, drugs, booze,tobacco and welfare have turned Maori into a national disaster zone. There is no solution here, they are doomed and bring the destruction upon themselves.

The police cannot control the flood anymore than the politicians can legislate it away.

Common sense only works for those who possess it.

The solution is to sit back and watch the show and hope like hell you dont become an unwitting player.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting to contrast the 2 strategies the community pharmacy sector are employing to combat diversion of psuedoephedrine to the gangs.

Individual pharmacists are refusing to sell the psuedoephedrine containing products and are selling phenylephrine (PE) based products to treat colds and flu. Phenylephrine can't be converted into P. They are being backed by the manufacturers who have mounted a large campaign to back the PE products. This strategy stops psuedoephedrine getting into gang hands now.

By contrast, the Pharmacy Guild which "represents" pharmacies is busy promoting an all seeing all dancing computer system to track people who by psuedoephedrine products in the hope the police can roll them up once these mules have bought enough packs to cross the threshhold of suspicion. Why? Because they want pharmacies to be able to continue selling pseudoephedrine based products.

The trouble is part of this strategy requires them to dump on the very PE products pharmacists are successfully using to prevent psuedoephedrine diversion, saying they are less effective. That makes people less likely to want to buy them slowing down the conversion of the market to PE products, ensuring psuedoephedrine remains available for diversion to gangs.

The other problem with strategy is the government and the Pharmacy Guild have been arguing over who should pay for the all seeing computer system for years and there's no end in sight to the argument. Even if peace broke out tomorrow the thing would still have to be put into place. And after that one suspects cany gang managers would quickly work out how to beat the system - who knows it might spawn a new industry creating fake photo IDs.

So, we have a successful low key, low cost strategy steadily being undermined by noisy promotion of something which is likely to be only partially effective if it gets going. One wonders why pharmacists' "representatives" are so keen to undermine the efforts of their own people so cynically?

brian_smaller said...

"Phenylephrine can't be converted into P. "

It doesn't work to suppress my cold and flu symptons either.

Under the proposed changes I would have to go the the doctor (take time off work, crawl out of bed or whatever), pay $45 doctor's fee, then go to Chemist and pay $20 for some psuedoephedrine.

Currently I feel like crap I go down to the chemist on Lampton Quay and buy a packet. The cost for me to treat the symptons of a bad cold/flu will rise by at least 200% - more if I takethe time required to go to the doctors appointment.

Brilliant - thanks.