Rhinitis medicine supply shortage due to ephedrine restraint: health official
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Department of Health (DOH)'s restrictions on medicines containing ephedrine have caused a shortage of rhinitis medicines, a DOH official said yesterday.
January 15, 2013, 12:21 am TWN
Last October, the DOH announced that every customer can only purchase seven-days worth of medicine containing ephedrine. The policy is part of an attempt to prevent ephedrine being used to produce amphetamine.
Ko Ming-tao (柯明道), a local pharmacist in Taipei City, said yesterday that many customers with rhinitis symptoms could not find pharmacies with rhinitis medicine owing to the restraint.
Kang Jaw-jou (康照洲), director-general of the Food and Drug Administration, said many medicine suppliers are intentionally lowering or cutting off the supply of ephedrine-containing medicines. Recent cold weather has also resulted in an increase of rhinitis patients. These two factors, Kang said, have led to the shortage of rhinitis medicines.
Kang added that “medicines that contained ephedrine are categorized as over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, so it is hard for the DOH to control who can buy the type of medicines. Also, consumers do not need to leave their information before purchasing it.”
Kang said police discovered last April suspects making amphetamine using medicines containing ephedrine. Therefore, the police asked the DOH to control the supply of medicines with ephedrine.
The DOH can only limit the amount of medicines that people can buy to prevent illegal usage of ephedrine contained medicines, Kang said.
Ko said customers can also consider buying medicines containing antihistamine for rhinitis symptoms.