HEFEI, Sept 19 (Xinhua) -- Many cities and provinces across the country have enforced a regulation that requires people buying ephedrine-contained cold medicine to register their identities.
The "real-name purchasing regulation" brought in earlier this month has attracted public concern for some.
"It will be troublesome to buy medicine if you have a cold," said Liu Qianqian, a white-collar working in Hefei City, provincial capital of east China's Anhui Province.
Ephedrine is commonly used in medicines to ease common cold symptoms, such as coughing, a runny nose and nasal congestion. However, it can also be extracted and used for producing methamphetamine hydrochloride, or crystal meth, an amphetamine class of psychoactive drugs.
To crack down on illegal drug production, the State Food and Drug Administration requires that pharmacies check and register customers' identity cards and addresses when purchasing cold medicine. The amount of each purchase is also strictly limited.
According to reports, a man in Chongqing Municipality learnt drug producing methods from the Internet. He extracted 23 kilograms of drugs from cold medicine brought from local pharmacies. He was arrested by police after tip-offs this year.
In 2011, two men were sentenced to 15 years in jail by a court in east China's Jiangsu Province after producing 96 grams of crystal meth.
"Cold medicine is a common medicine for everyone, but purchasing it for drug extraction is a few people's behavior. The government should not expect society to pay the price," said a netizen with a screen name of "Host Xiaofeng".
The regulation will not only cause inconvenience to those people who really want to buy medicine, but also face the risks of personal information being leaked, said Sun Yuhua, a Shanghai citizen.
Beside ephedrine-contained cold treatments, other kinds of cold medicine can also cure colds. Therefore, patients need not worry about the new regulation as they can choose different medicines, said Zhang Qian, a pharmacist of the Second Hospital of Anhui Medical University.
Wang Kaiyu, a sociologist of Anhui Academy of Social Sciences, said that relevant departments should implement the regulation strictly, strengthen management and supervision, and protect personal information. Then the regulation could win people's support, Wang added.