Lady blowing her nose

Why do I need to show my ID every time I buy cold and Flu medication?

Good question… let me start by telling you a story. It begins in a time in the dark distant past when Tarago vans ruled the streets of Maddington… and as a young pharmacist I would be confronted on a daily basis by ten or so customers with varying acting prowess complaining of blocked noses and life destroyed by fever requiring a packet or two of cold and flu tablets… do you see where I’m going here?

Cold and Flu medication commonly contains pseudo ephedrine. What started out as a way to manage flu symptons, soon became the go-to source for the shady sides of society who use the ingredients to make batches of amphetamines. Knowing this was occurring, there began murmurs that this type of product would need to become a prescription only medication.

Project STOP was the guild/ police initiative to start RTR – real time recording of sales of products containing Pseudo ephedrine.

When real time recording was first introduced, everyone hated it. It was bureaucracy gone mad! And a time-consuming paperwork activity. Legitimate patients complained about the inconvenience and worried about what the ID information was being used for.

Some years on though, it has been proven to curb the criminal diversion of pseudoephedrine in illicit manufacturing (eg methamphetamine) but more importantly allowed for the continued supply of a decongestant/ cold remedy without needing everyone with the flu to present to a doctor.


  1. Go to your regular pharmacy– you won’t get asked for ID
  2. It’s better than getting a script– it will cost you more in time and money to have to go to the DR just to get cold and flu meds
  3. You’re reducing illegal drugs– you’re doing your bit to make sure it’s all above board

Driving Licence used when asked to show ID when buying any cold and flu medication

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