The State Food and Drug Administration has called for stricterenforcement of measures limiting the sale of cold medicinescontaining pseudoephedrine, which has been used for the illicitmanufacture of the drug methamphetamine. The Shandong provincial food and drug bureau has issued anemergency notice asking drugstores to keep a closer check on theidentity of customers who buy the cold medicine Contac NT. In March, 37 suspects were arrested in Liaocheng city for usingContac NT to produce methamphetamine, according to Liaocheng publicsecurity bureau spokesman Fu Yantao. Fu told China Daily on Monday that the suspects bought nearly 1,000packs of Contac NT Sustained Release Capsules to manufacture morethan 60 grams of methamphetamine, known commonly as "meth", andalso known by its street name "ice". Ten packs of Contac NT, costing about 100 yuan ($16), can producethree grams of meth with a street price of 800 yuan, police said. |
One of the main ingredients, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, whicheases nasal congestion, is converted into ephedrine to producemeth. Contac NT contains 90 milligrams of pseudoephedrine hydrochlorideper 95 milligram capsule, according to the website ofGlaxoSmithKline China, the manufacturer of Contac NT. Fang Fang, a manager at the publicity department of Glaxo China,told China Daily on Monday that the company is researching newingredients for the Contac NT to replace the pseudoephedrinehydrochloride. Fang said the amount of Contac NT sold on the Chinese mainland is a"sensitive issue" related to the pharmacy industry, and it's notthe proper time to release the figure. Under current regulations, customers can buy up to five packs ofContac NT at a time.
The suspects asked relatives and friends tobuy more, amassing nearly 1,000 packs, according to Liaochengpolice. Drugstores should record the information on the identificationcards of Contac NT buyers, said Liaocheng police officer Wu Ying. "The purchase of such medicines as Contac NT should be restricted,"Wu said, adding they should be sold by prescription only. In Jinan, capital of Shandong province, Haizhou Drugstorepharmacist Wang Ailing said customers can only buy one pack ofContac NT at a time. If they want to buy more than one pack, theyhave to provide their personal information to the drugstore.
"Mostrecent customers are local residents. They know me and come in tobuy a pack of Contac after catching a cold," Wang reported. At the Zhang Zhongjing Pharmacy in the Jinshui district ofZhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan province, customers canbuy three packs of Contac NT, even with identification, said astore clerk. Wang Huixian and Wang Ya'nan contributed to this story. (Source: China Daily).
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