National Standards for Pseudoephedrine OTCs?

Ken Rankin
Published Online: Friday, July 1, 2005

Responding to a series of recent state actions restricting the retail sale of OTC pseudoephedrine products, the chain drugstore industry is calling for new national standards that would limit distribution of these drugs to licensed pharmacies.

The plan, advanced by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) as a move to combat illegal methamphetamine production, would preempt all state laws that currently restrict sales of OTC pseudoephedrine drugs, such as Sudafed and Theraflu, and would keep these products available to patients without a prescription.

Single-entity pseudoephedrine products could be sold only by a licensed pharmacist or pharmacy aide from behind the prescription counter, however. Combination products containing pseudoephedrine would be subject to similar restrictions effective January 1, 2007.

The NACDS proposal also would limit purchases of these OTCs to 9 g within a 30-day period. Pharmacies would be required to maintain a written or electronic log of all purchases to assist law enforcement officials.

The chain drug group's officials said that these principles for a nationwide standard to regulate sales of pseudoephedrine drugs would "strike a balance between keeping valuable products available to our consumers and combating dangerous, illegal practices."

Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.

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