Pharmacies have started restocking cold and flu medications containing pseudoephedrine, but they are being cautious about who they sell them to. The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) has provided guidance to its members regarding potential inappropriate requests for the drug. Pseudoephedrine, while effective as a decongestant, can also be used in the production of methamphetamine, which led to its ban over a decade ago.

PSNZ president Michael Hammond emphasized the importance of pharmacies being vigilant when selling pseudoephedrine, similar to other potentially abused medicines. Pharmacies are advised to ask for proof of identification when recording patient details, sell the smallest quantity possible, and refuse sales if they suspect any misuse or if there are concerns about break-ins. It is not mandatory for pharmacies to stock pseudoephedrine, and they have the right to decline sales to individuals.

Pharmacists take a personalized approach to patient care, considering various factors such as medical conditions, other medications, and symptoms before recommending pseudoephedrine or exploring alternative treatments like painkillers, anti-inflammatories, or nasal sprays. Pharmacies that do not carry pseudoephedrine can still provide guidance on where to purchase it.

The PSNZ has advocated for a real-time monitoring system for pharmacists to track pseudoephedrine sales, but in the absence of such a system, they are focusing on educating pharmacists to have informed discussions with patients about their treatment options. The decision to reintroduce pseudoephedrine was part of the Act Party’s election promise.

In other news from New Zealand, Waikato police have scaled back their search in Marokopa for Tom Phillips, while offering an $80,000 reward for information on Phillips’ three children.