Drug Chains Caution Against OTC Pseudoephedrine Curbs

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Chain drug store industry leadersare urging Congress to resist pressureto place new restrictions on the sale ofOTC cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine—a move being pushedby some law enforcement officials as ameans to curb methamphetamine(meth) trafficking and abuse.

Because legitimate drugs containingpseudoephedrine can be used as theraw ingredients for meth produced inkitchen sink "labs," state and federalofficials are considering plans to reclassifythese drugs as Schedule V controlledsubstances—a step that wouldforce pharmacies to sell these OTCsfrom "behind the counter."

Oklahoma has already imposedsuch restrictions on pseudoephedrinedrugs, and legislation is expected to beintroduced in Congress this year torequire retailers to obtain identificationfrom consumers before sellingthese cold medicines to them.

National Association of Chain DrugStores (NACDS) Pharmacy RegulatoryAffairs Vice President Mary Ann Wagner,RPh, however, called this a "stopgap"approach that fails to address theproblem of addiction that is drivingthe demand for meth.

In testimony before a House subcommitteeon Criminal Justice, Wagnerwarned that the Oklahoma modelhas "shortcomings and may not be assuccessful as originally thought."According to NACDS, controlled substance restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrineproducts would inconveniencelegitimate consumers withoutstopping illegal sales of these drugsto criminals.

Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.