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Pharmacists must document pseudoephedrine consumption

In some Eastern European countries in particular, crystal meth is a big topic: the media have been reporting for years about large drug kitchens in the Czech Republic and about how the drug is smuggled across the German border. But the Czech legislature now wants to get rid of this problem. According to a new law, a maximum amount of 900 milligrams of the active ingredient pseudoephedrine per patient may be dispensed in the pharmacy within a period of one week. For comparison: a sachet of aspirin® complex, for example, contains 30 mg of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.

In order to be able to control the amount of pseudephedrine, pharmacies will in future have to electronically transmit the name of the customer and the amount of medication dispensed to a central database. Patients have to show their identity card.

No more home drug labs

At the same time, the authorities admitted that the majority of the raw materials did not come from Czech pharmacies, but were imported illegally from abroad. The blow is directed primarily against "small drug laboratories for domestic use," it said. Last year, the Czech Republic intensified the fight against the drug by including several active ingredients in the Narcotics Act.

In 2016, the EU Commission also declared war on the spread of the drug: Previously, possession and consumption of crystal meth and trading in it were prohibited in Germany. But things looked different with chlorephedrine - the raw material for the production of crystal meth: trading in the ephedrine derivative was not a criminal offense before 2016. That changed in September 2016: Since then, chlorephedrine has been a "registered substance" in Appendix 1 of EU Regulations 273/2004 and 111/2005. These regulate the trade and surveillance of drug precursors between the EU and third countries.