'Abnormal' prescriptions of cold medicines

national March 02, 2012 00:00

By The Nation

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The Public Health Ministry disclosed yesterday that many hospitals across the country were allegedly prescribing large amounts of cold medicines that contain a precursor chemical used to make amphetamines.

“These large prescriptions are abnormal,” the Public Health Ministry’s Pasit Sakdanarong, who chairs a panel set up to suppress, prevent and rehabilitate drug abusers, said.

“We will keep a close eye on who might be involved in these abnormalities. Preliminary investigation shows that some people had brought this cold medicine to produce yaba and ‘ice’ to sell in late-night venues,” he added.

Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said the ministry had also found that some state hospitals had prescribed large amounts of cold medication, but upon closer look it did not turn out to be abnormal.

“The medicines were prescribed for out-patients and in-patients in a Samut Sakhon hospital, and most of the patients were migrant workers,” he said.

Following a report that a senior pharmacist at an Udon Thani hospital had been found guilty of prescribing huge amounts of cold medicines, Witthaya said police would soon be seeking an arrest warrant against the unnamed 40-year-old man. The pharmacist allegedly forged documents declaring that 65,000 tablets of pseudoephedrine-based medicine, contained in 130 bottles, had been delivered to a hospital at tambon level, when in reality he had sold them.

Witthaya added that the ministry would expand its investigation now that it has learned that the medicines were being exported to neighbouring countries.