usa-map usa-map

Learn more about the dangers of smurfing here

Learn more

Don’t Make Access To Cold Medicine Subject To Prescription

Indiana’s physicians, along with our brave men and women in law enforcement, are on the front lines of our state’s fight against methamphetamine production and abuse.

To successfully combat this critical problem, we must remain laser-focused on targeting meth criminals. There are those who would seek to further restrict pseudoephedrine, or PSE, the active ingredient found in many common cold and allergy medicines. Because PSE can also be misused to produce meth, some periodically call for making these medicines available only with a doctor’s prescription. Many Hoosiers, however, use these medicines frequently to self-treat their cold, allergy or flu symptoms.

These effective self-treatments keep patients from flooding already overly crowded clinics with routine concerns, which they would be forced to do if a prescription mandate for PSE were put in place. It saves consumers money as well — more trips to the doctor would mean, for example, more out-of-pocket co-pays and time away from work. Additionally, prescription status for pseudoephedrine-based products simply does not make sense.

Highly regulated opioid prescription pain medications are now the easiest drugs to illegally obtain on the street. Why would anyone think it would be different for pseudoephedrine?

We can fight meth crime in Indiana without putting everyday cold medicine under doctors’ lock-and-key. Pharmacies are already employing the NPLEx (National Precursor Log Exchange) system to track PSE purchases and stop illegal purchase attempts. NPLEx data helps law enforcement catch meth criminals, and in 2014 so far, the system has blocked the sale of more than 87,000 grams of PSE in Indiana. Innovative crime-fighting methods like NPLEx help us fight meth producers without curbing the rights of the law-abiding majority.


Richard Feldman, MD

Former Indiana health commissioner