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  1. #1
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    Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline

    Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline
    PUANGCHOMPHU PRASERT
    THE NATION April 4, 2012 1:00 am

    Pharmacies and clinics will have just 30 days to clear their inventories of all pseudoephedrine-containing medicines once a regulation signed by the public health minister yesterday appears in the Royal Gazette.

    "They must return the remaining stock to the drug companies," Food and Drug Administration (FDA) secretary-general Dr Pipat Yingseri said yesterday.

    He said the new regulation would apply to all medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, including ones mixed with paracetamol.

    Widely used in medicines to treat cold symptoms, pseudoephedrine has become a closely monitored and controlled item in recent years as it is also used to produce methamphetamine.

    Authorities earlier removed pseudoephedrine-containing medicines from the approved list of over-the-counter medicines. However, the measure proved inadequate.

    Recently, it was revealed that some 45 million pseudoephedrine-containing tablets had disappeared from hospitals, raising concerns that the missing pills were siphoned off into the hands of drug-trafficking gangs.

    "In January last year, we asked the Council of State to determine whether pseudoephedrine could be listed as a psychotropic substance," Pipat said.

    Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri yesterday said he had signed the ministerial regulation declaring pseudoephedrine a psychotropic substance that only authorised persons could use or possess.

    Unauthorised use or possession of pseudoephedrine-containing items shall be punishable by a jail term of one to five years and a fine of between Bt20,000 and Bt100,000. Possession of more than 5 grams of pure pseudoephedrine will be punishable by a jail term of between five and 20 years and a fine of between Bt100,000 and Bt400,000.

    The new regulation will take effect after it is published in the Royal Gazette, which is expected to happen very soon.

    "We told drug companies in January that they must stop producing pseudoephedrine-containing medicines," Pipat said.

    The latest checks showed that there are some 60 million tablets of pseudoephedrine-containing medicines in the possession of drug companies and 20 million more at state hospitals.

    Today(April 4), the FDA will brief drug companies about what to do in regards to the pseudoephedrine-containing medicines. Hospitals that have such medicines in stock will be allowed to use them under the close supervision of doctors.

    Health Service Support Department director-general Dr Somchai Pinyopornpanich said his department was investigating private hospitals and clinics that had ordered unusually large amounts of pseudoephedrine-containing medicines.

    "Each of [the facilities being investigated] had ordered more than 300,000 tablets per year," he said.

    He said the investigation had cleared Navamin 9 Hospital because the ordered tablets went directly to its stock for use at the facility. "But the investigation has shown that someone used the name of Navamin 1 Hospital to order 922,500 tablets for 70 pharmacies," Somchai said.

    "We have forwarded this case to the Department of Special Investigation to determine whether the hospital knew about it. But at this point, paper records show the hospital stopped using the services of this middleman before the problematic purchases took place."

    According to Somchai, the FDA will be asked to determine what actions should be taken against pharmacies that received pseudoephedrine-containing tablets from this middleman.

    In a related development, officials yesterday raided a clinic in Lop Buri based on a tip-off and confiscated 212,600 tablets and 60 liquid bottles of medicine containing pseudoephedrine.

    "We will investigate why it stocked such a huge amount of these medicines," Pasit Sakdanarong said in his capacity as an adviser to the public health minister.

    To date, the Public Health Ministry has launched probes against 14 government officials on suspicion that they had committed disciplinary offences relating to the misuse of pseudoephedrine-containing medicines through state hospitals.

    Of the 14, nine are accused of committing grave disciplinary offences. Eight are pharmacists, while the other is the director of Thong Saen Khan Hospital in Uttaradit province.

  2. #2
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    Re: Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline

    This is good news. The horrible drug, yaa baa, has been offered to me several times in Tland and I have a very conservative, businessman look about me. The things that it has done to the people worldwide must somehow be stopped.

  3. #3
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    Re: Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline

    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Don View Post
    Unauthorised use or possession of pseudoephedrine-containing items shall be punishable by a jail term of one to five years and a fine of between Bt20,000 and Bt100,000. Possession of more than 5 grams of pure pseudoephedrine will be punishable by a jail term of between five and 20 years and a fine of between Bt100,000 and Bt400,000.
    When I travel to Thailand, I bring pseudoephedrine tablets (SUDAFED) to help with my ears and sinuses when snorkeling and flying. A 20-count box of "12 hour" extended release caplets totals 2400mg (qualifying for the lower fine/shorter sentence).

    If this law applies to visitors, it could be a rude surprise. There needs to be some way to get the word out well before people check their bags onto their flights...

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    Re: Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline

    Pseudoephedrine is one of the best remedies best for many sinus ailments.

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    Re: Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline

    Wouldn't a doctor's prescription help explain why one has in their possession such a drug?

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    Re: Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie View Post
    Wouldn't a doctor's prescription help explain why one has in their possession such a drug?
    This is the way to go as you should declare any prescribed drugs you are bringing in on your landing card. You can not then be accused of trying to import illegal drugs-and avoid all that is likely to go with such in Thailand!!

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    Re: Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie View Post
    Wouldn't a doctor's prescription help explain why one has in their possession such a drug?
    Where I live, they take your name and driver's license number when you purchase pseudoephedrine, but you don't need a prescription. I suppose I could try asking for one when I get my pre-trip vaccinations.

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    Re: Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline

    Yes; in the States, this is their way of controlling the dispensing of the drug. Unfortunately, in Thailand, so many regulations are already sidestepped.

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    Re: Pharmacies, clinics to face 30-day deadline

    Still, meth labs exist and the ingredients are coming from somewhere. Driving home on a quiet country road a few days ago, we saw there were 5 State Trooper cars ahead for a 'traffic stop' I showed my license and we were on our way. In an area where a police car of any type is rarely seen unless called for (and then it takes an hour or so for someone to show)I can't help but think there must be a suspected meth lab in the area. The next morning, going in a different direction on a different road, there was another traffic stop. Something's definitely going on, and it wouldn't be the first time.

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