Amphetamines

Home Department written question – answered on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Brian Iddon Brian Iddon Labour, Bolton South East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence there is from UK seizures of illicit drugs and their precursors on the use of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine from over-the-counter medicines in the manufacture of methamphetamine in the UK.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

There has been increasing concern from the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency that pseudoephedrine and ephedrine can be extracted from over the counter remedies relatively easily and used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

The police have identified in specific cases that multiple packs of particular pharmacy pseudoephedrine containing products had been purchased and used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine. They have also identified that, in part, packs were obtained from numerous pharmacies to obtain adequate quantities for manufacturing.

In January, the Commission on Human Medicines recommended that changing the legal status of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine to a prescription only medicine together with restricting the pack size was necessary to protect public health in the UK and that a consultation exercise should be conducted on these proposals. Department of Health Ministers accepted this advice and a full public consultation exercise was commenced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on 7 March 2007 and can be accessed via the MHRA's website:

www.mhra.gov.uk.

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