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Crackdown on cough bottles over meth fear

A NEW clampdown has been ordered into cough and cold medicines that contain an ingredient used in the illegal manufacture of the highly addictive street drug crystal meth.

The ingredient pseudoephedrine is a nasal decongestant contained in many cough and cold medicines sold over the counter by pharmacies.

Crystal meth is made in illegal labs by chemically altering over-the-counter medicines.

Under new guidelines from the regulator, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), customers who request the medicines will be referred to the pharmacist rather than a sales assistant.

Pharmacists will be required to quiz customers about whether they have "genuine clinical need" for the medicine and will have to decide if it is appropriate.

The pharmacist can exercise professional judgment and can refuse to supply any pseudoephedrine-containing products if they deem it necessary. Pharmacists must also store the products in an appropriate and secure location.

Irish Independent