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“Australias Ice Man” confirms the need for making Project STOP

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					2 March 2009



“Australia’s Ice Man” confirms the need for making
Project STOP mandatory
The story “Australia’s Ice Man”, broadcast on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program last night, confirms
the need to make mandatory the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s high-tech weapon against ‘pseudo runners’
– Project STOP. Currently, the system is voluntary for pharmacists, assisting them to make decisions about
whether a particular sale of a pseudoephedrine-based product is legitimate.

As the Guild said in a press release on 15 January, it is time for the highly successful initiative to be boosted
by mandatory reporting of sales Australia-wide, to ensure consistency in pharmacy delivery and to combat
the misuse of cold and flu tablet medicines used in the manufacture of methamphetamines (also known as
‘speed’ or ‘ice’).

Project STOP provides a real-time database of requests for relevant products containing pseudoephedrine.
This helps the pharmacist decide ‘Should I or shouldn’t I supply to this person’. It also provides immediate
data to law enforcement agencies and health regulators. The program has been running nationally since
August 2007 (and in Queensland, where it was developed, since November 2005). In that time, more than 2
million transactions have been processed. At the height of the cough and cold season in 2008 it peaked at
7000 transactions per day.

“The Guild compliments Channel 7 for the alert, given that this is the first report of a large scale
clandestine meth lab using liquids, since 2000. After all, it is the responsibility of all citizens to be on the
alert for criminal activity,” National President of the Pharmacy Guild, Kos Sclavos, said.

“We will confirm with authorities if this is an isolated event and, if there is a shift towards liquid
pseudoephedrine by criminals, community pharmacy will be more vigilant in relation to these sales. The
Guild works with police and Government agencies to identify risk products and this is the first time we
have been made aware of a problem with liquid pseudoephedrine. To date liquids have not uniformly been
entered onto Project Stop due to the risk profile.

“Now that pseudoephedrine containing cough liquids are on notice, however, everyone across pharmacy
will tighten up vigilance,” he said.

Since the Project STOP system went online in 2005, pharmacists have denied sales on 26,000 occasions.
That is 26,000 packets that have not turned up in a methamphetamines lab. Project STOP is undeniably a
contributing cause to the 49 per cent fall in pseudoephedrine sales since 2006.

“At no time, however, has the Guild claimed that the system is 100 per cent effective,” Mr Sclavos said.

“Because of varying legislative provisions across the States, the reporting requirements for such sales are
confused and confusing. Furthermore, the uptake of pharmacists registering as part of the Project STOP
system has varied sharply across the States. For example, 92 per cent of pharmacies in Queensland are
registered, while only 49 per cent of NSW pharmacies are part of the system.




National Secretariat
Level 2, 15 National Circuit, Barton, ACT 2600 Australia · PO Box 7036, Canberra Business Centre, ACT 2610 Australia
Telephone: + 61 2 6270 1888 · Facsimile: + 61 2 6270 1800 · Email: guild.nat@guild.org.au · Internet: www.guild.org.au
“We believe Project STOP has been so effective that it is worthy of 100 per cent support, and last night’s
program reinforces that point.

“Without this system, access to cold and flu products could be restricted to Prescription Only medicines.
This would add enormous cost to consumers, an extra burden of Medicare, place pressure on GPs, and
inconvenience millions of Australians with legitimate health needs.

“Now that Project STOP has proven itself, the Guild believes it is time that all State and Territory
jurisdictions mandated the use of the Project STOP by pharmacies. This would ensure patients received a
consistent professional approach from pharmacy staff and it would allow health and police authorities to
capture all data regarding misuse and abuse of these products,” Mr Sclavos said.


For further media enquiries contact Greg Turnbull or Michael Pittman on 02 6270 1888.




National Secretariat
Level 2, 15 National Circuit, Barton, ACT 2600 Australia · PO Box 7036, Canberra Business Centre, ACT 2610 Australia
Telephone: + 61 2 6270 1888 · Facsimile: + 61 2 6270 1800 · Email: guild.nat@guild.org.au · Internet: www.guild.org.au

				
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