Health Minister Stephen Robertson announced that cold and flu drugs containing pseudoephedrine will be banned from being sold over the counter in an effort to limit illegal manufacturing of such drugs.
This new rule is set to come into effect from January 1 in Queensland. Pharmacists have been asked to ensure that unknown and frequent buyers are thoroughly questioned in order to find out if their need is genuine. Pseudoephedrine is often used as a raw material to manufacture speed and combination with cocaine. This is the most abused drug on the streets among the youth.
It has also emerged that the Pharmacy Guild of Australia will monitor the sales of these cold and flu drugs so that amphetamine labs do not crop up all over the state. "We believe that more stringent point of sale control on these medicines is necessary to help combat the manufacture of illicit drugs in Queensland," Mr Robertson said. "The continued diversion of medicines containing pseudoephedrine for use as a precursor to manufacture methamphetamine is an issue of grave concern for health regulators and law enforcement agencies." Under the rule nasal decongestants and cold and flu medications would be under scrutiny because other medications used for cold and flu do not contain pseudoephedrine. Robertson admitted that genuine patients would feel hassled by this new rule, but said it was needed to ensure that illegal practices did not flower in the state.