Pseudo Watch is an initiative of NSW Police Force and the Pharmacy Guild (NSW) that aims promote community awareness of the regulations governing the sale and possession of pharmaceutical products that contain pseudoephedrine.
Pseudoephedrine is the active ingredient in cold and flu medications. It is the most common precursor chemical used in the manufacture of the illegal drug, methylamphetamine (speed).
Pseudoephedrine is sourced illegally through theft from pharmacies and manufacturers, illegal importation and by a practice known as 'pseudo running', whereby small quantities of cold and flu tablets are purchased from a large number of pharmacies.
The Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act (Section 24A - Possess Precursor with intent to Manufacture) prohibits people from possessing quantities of precursors such as pseudoephedrine where it can be established that the intention is to use these chemicals to manufacture prohibited drugs.
Under the Poisons and Therapuetic Goods Regulation, cold and flu tablets containing pseudoephedrine are listed under Schedule 3 (S3R), which means they must be sold over the pharmacy counter and require the production of identification. Pseudoephedrine is also listed in Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 as a prohibited drug. Under the Poisons & Therapeutic Goods Regulations 2002, pharmacists have the right to refuse sale to customers at their discretion. Pharmacies are also able to report knowledge of suspicious sales of pseudoephedrine directly to police.
The aim of the Pseudo Watch programme is to encourage a closer working relationship between pharmacies and the police for the benefit of the entire community. By adopting such an approach, a source of supply of that illicit drug manufacturers rely on to manufacture methylaphetamine will be greatly restricted.