German drug giant Boehringer has launched a drug-test kit in the UK, which it is trying to make available over the counter.
The kit, called Frontline, tests urine samples for traces of opiates, cocaine and cannabis.
The products target people without medical training such as police, customs and immigration officers.
A UK spokeswoman for Mannheim-based Boehringer says the company is lobbying regulatory authorities to make the products available to consumers over the counter (OTC). “There is a demand for the kits to be available OTC, but I cannot say how soon,” she adds.
Industry sources say drug-test kits could be used by parents who wish to test their children, or even by employers.
The packaging of the range is by Minale Tattersfield International, which came up with a design to present the kits as reliable and simple to use.
The spokeswoman adds that the company is developing kits to test for amphetamine and benzotine in 1996.
Boehringer also produces tests for diabetes and cholesterol. A number of self-diagnosis manufacturers are understood to be developing kits for sexually-transmitted and other infectious diseases.
Sources say Johnson & Johnson is developing plans to bring its home HIV test to the UK this year. SmithKline Beecham is planning to launch a rival product in conjunction with another, unknown pharmaceutical company (MW January 27).