WHO Set to Consider Dextromethorphan Scheduling in April 2009

May 13, 2008

Dextromethorphan is an important ingredient in many cough/cold medications.  The World Health Organization (“WHO”) is considering whether to schedule dextromethorphan as a controlled substance under the international conventions of the United Nations system.  If that occurs, then the U.S. government will be obligated to schedule dextromethorphan under the Controlled Substances Act, an action that could dramatically affect the manufacturing, distribution, and availability of medicines containing the substance.

At the next meeting of WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, dextromethorphan is scheduled to be given a “pre-review.”  That meeting will occur in April, 2009.  If, following this “pre-review,” the drug is recommended for “critical review,” the committee will at the meeting thereafter determine whether to recommend scheduling.

Space does not permit a full description of the WHO scheduling process.  If this issue is of interest, please call Jim Phelps or John Gilbert at Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C.   Also, please see our previous post, which, among other things, provides some background information on the WHO scheduling process.