Because it is possible to extract ephedrine unlawfully to make drugs, all medicine stores in Beijing are being ordered to observe carefully the sales of cold-relief drugs containing ephedrine, such as "White and Black" and "New Contac". No-one should purchase more than 5 small packages at any one time.
Spokesperson for the Beijing Municipal Food and Drug Administration Cong Luoluo said yesterday that a document on restricting the purchase quantity of drugs containing ephedrine would be delivered to medicine stores over the couple of days.
According to an expert from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the pseudoephedrine hydrochloride contained in cold-relief drugs is extracted from the herb ephedra, and its structure is very similar to methamphetamine, a main ingredient of MDMA. Because only a little ephedrine can be found in each package of the drugs, hundreds of kilograms of cold-relief medicine are required to extract sufficient pseudoephedrine hydrochloride for drug making.
According to Cong, what the drugs administrative departments should do is to set up a special barrier between medicine production and wholesalers, and strictly monitor the raw ephedrine and its production process. He added that commonly used cold and cough-relief medicines containing ephedrine are safe. There is no danger of addiction as long as people observe the prescriptions and guidance of doctors.
Medicine stores in Beijing are preparing for the upcoming implementation of this new measure. The Beijing Municipal Food and Drug Administration also advised medicine stores to immediately stop selling abnormal purchase quantities of the relevant drugs, and inform related departments of any such cases.
(China.org.cn by Fan Junmei, November 11, 2008)