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Public sneezes at law that tracks ephedrine

By Zheng Xin and Zhang Yan (China Daily)

08:44, September 04, 2012

A resident registers his name and ID number when buying cold medicine at a pharmacy in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Zhang Di / for China Daily

The new regulation requiring people to give their real names when buying cold medicine is causing its own kind of reaction.

The State Food and Drug Administration last week demanded pharmacies take down the real names and ID of people buying medicine containing ephedrine - a substance commonly used in cold medicines that can also be used to produce the drug methamphetamine.

"It's the police's duty to crack down on those drug dealers, but the responsibility has been transferred to us, which I don't find fair," said Fu Guangxin, a 26-year-old editor for a fashion magazine in Beijing.

She wondered if the real-name system might have any effect in preventing people from making drugs from cold medicine.

"How can you make sure the information you register today will not be released tomorrow and then followed by continuous junk mail?" she said.

In response to complaints from customers, some pharmacies are simply recommending nonprescription drugs or traditional Chinese medicine, which do not require personal information.

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