Health – Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for winter

Accessibility will be a real relief to New Zealanders suffering from colds and flu this winter, Associate Health Minister David Seymour says.

Associate Health Minister David Seymour has announced that Medsafe has approved 11 cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Pharmaceutical suppliers have indicated they might be able to supply the first products in June.

“This is much earlier than the original expectation of medicines being available by 2025. 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. They 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 has passed its final reading unanimously in the House. 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,” Seymour says.

“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.”