5 May 2017

Cold medicine products 'have benefits' - industry

11:03 am on 5 May 2017

The cold medicine industry is rubbishing a consumer watchdog finding that people are better off taking painkillers and going to bed than taking over-the-counter cold-and-flu remedies.

Sick person, flu, cold, cold and flu, sick generic

Photo: 123RF

Consumer New Zealand looked at more than 50 cold and flu products, including decongestants and cough drops to see which offered the most effective relief.

It said 60 percent of the products were making unsubstantiated statements.

Self Medication Industry Association executive director Scott Milne told Morning Report Consumer's findings lacked balance.

"The evidence that the industry provided to Consumer, as did Medsafe, is the evidence that our regulating body ... has looked at and evaluated and has said that these products are efficacious and they are safe when they're used according to the instructions."

Canada, the UK and the US have all also looked at the data and agreed that the products did have benefits, he said.

And there were numerous studies that backed this up, he said.

"New Zealand is not out on a limb here, we are not swimming against the tide."

However, over-the-counter decongestion remedies were not as effective as Pseudoephedrine - which has been restricted to prescription-only because it can be used to manufacture methamphetamine - and Mr Milne said he would love to be able to dispense it again.

The products would not have survived in the market for so long if they did not work, Mr Milne said.

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