Ministry of Health
30 June 2011
Privileged Statement Under Section 98 of the Medicines Act
Director-General of Health Kevin Woods today warned retailers to remove from their shelves a brand of herbal smoking product called Kronic Pineapple Express because it contains a prescription medicine.
Mr Woods said the public should not consume this product and to seek medical advice if they are feeling unwell.
Kronic Pineapple Express contains a benzodiazepine called phenazepam that is not available in NZ and only appears to be used in one country for the short term treatment of anxiety and as an anticonvulsant.
Phenazepam can only be legally supplied when prescribed by a doctor or other prescriber. The Ministry of Health is meeting with the company importing and manufacturing this product today and is requesting it be recalled from retailers immediately.
Retailers are also requested to remove this product from sale immediately.
Kronic Pineapple Express is one of a number of branded herbal smoking products containing synthetic cannabinoids.
The presence of the prescription medicine was first suspected from a screening test last month. Subsequent work including a validated test and determination of the quantity of phenazepam has now been completed. The process took time as testing for this medicine was new to New Zealand and needed to be carefully undertaken so that the evidence was of a good standard.
The Ministry of Health is delivering a formal notice to the company to immediately cease supply and distribution of Kronic Pineapple Express.
The Ministry believes this product is in breach of the Medicines Act 1981 because it contains a medicine which is being distributed without consent.
Phenazepam is a member of a class of medicines called benzodiazepines. Phenazepam is structurally similar to lorazepam, a benzodiazepine available in NZ for the treatment of a number of conditions.
Anyone concerned about the health consequences of taking this product and wanting more information should call Healthline 0800 611 116.
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