Tighter controls for pseudoephedrine/ephedrine

The MHRA has decided that the legal status of pseudoephedrine/ephedrine-containing products should be reclassified from a pharmacy medicine to prescription only medicine in July 2009, unless the risk of misuse of these medicines in the illicit manufacture of methylamphetamine is contained; or at any time before then should evidence emerge that misuse has not been contained.

This means that cold and flu products containing pseudoephedrine/ephedrine will remain available for sale over the counter as a pharmacy medicine, giving community pharmacy up to two years to demonstrate that sales can be properly controlled without the need for reclassification.

The Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) has recommended that large packs of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine should be replaced by smaller packs of 720mg and will be limited to one pack per customer. The sale must also be carried out by a pharmacist.

Further information: www.mhra.gov.uk.

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