6 Dec 2023

Pharmacists dread to return to prescription co-payments

From Nine To Noon, 9:20 am on 6 December 2023
Horizontal view of pharmacist working in pharmacy

Photo: 123RF

Community pharmacists say they're baffled by the government's decision to once again make pseudoephedrine an over-the-counter product as stipulated in the coalition agreement.

They say they're far more concerned about the expected return of prescription co-payments which they say will hurt patients.

Agreed to in the coalition agreement with the ACT party, pseudoephedrine, known as the cold and flu medication Sudafed, will be allowed to be sold over the counter.

The drug, which is a key precursor ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine, has been prescription-only since 2011.

Gemma Parry is a pharmacist, owner of Sanders Pharmacy in Te Awamutu and a spokesperson for the Independent Community Pharmacy Group.

She says the cold medication stipulation is strange and baffling and she and other community pharmacists are far more worried about National's pledge to get rid of free prescriptions, which she says will hurt patients.