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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 130 - Medicinal products [Head shops] [29137/10].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 130 - Medicinal products [Head shops] [29137/10]. (01 Jul 2010)

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130. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the actions being taken by her and the Irish Medicines Board to routinely ensure that psychoactive products, the sale of which requires a licence, are not being sold by head shops and websites. [29137/10] 

Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Psychoactive substances that are intended for inclusion in medicinal products must undergo extensive research and controlled trials in advance of being submitted for assessment of their safety, quality and efficacy by the Irish Medicines Board, the European Medicines Agency or similar agencies in other countries. Only if these criteria are satisfied will an authorisation be issued to permit a medicinal product to be legally placed on the Irish market. I am advised that the psychoactive substances that were available in head shops would not meet the criteria necessary to be considered for authorisation as medicinal products.
In recent times, certain products available in head shops have been reported to have anaesthetic effects and therefore fall within the scope of the medicinal products legislation. Any such product is considered to be an unauthorised medicinal product and, accordingly, the IMB has been taking action to have these products removed from the market. The IMB can apply various sanctions in accordance with the Irish Medicines Board Act 1995, as amended. The supply of prescription only medicinal products by mail order, including via the Internet, is prohibited in Ireland. The IMB and the Revenue Customs Service work together closely in order to detect and detain such illegal supplies. These may include medicinal products with psychoactive properties. The IMB works with counterpart agencies in other countries to stop, wherever possible, the activities of websites and those who operate them. The IMB is active at both European and global level in maximising co-operation between agencies responsible for enforcement of medicinal products legislation.
My Department is working closely with the Department of Justice and Law Reform, the Gardaí, the Customs Service, the Forensic Science Laboratory, the IMB and others to monitor closely the emergence of new psychoactive substances with a view to bringing these substances under control. I will not hesitate to seek Government approval to ban additional substances if any of them pose a risk to public health.
My colleague the Minister for Justice and Law Reform is currently progressing the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Bill 2010 through the Dáil. This Bill will make it a criminal offence to sell or supply substances which may not be specifically controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Acts but which have psychoactive effects.
Vol. 714 No. 2 
Written Answers - Medicinal Products
Thursday, 1 July 2010

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