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Additional PSE Regulation is Not The Solution

12.2.15 – Ron Fitzwater, Springfield News Leader

With temperatures dropping, we are racing towards cold season once again. That means, if you’re like me and my family, you’ll be heading to the drugstore for relief. Unfortunately, getting the medications you need might not be as easy as you thought.

As CEO of the Missouri Pharmacy Association, I can attest to the popularity and widespread use of pseudoephedrine (PSE), a decongestant commonly used in cold and allergy medicine. Unfortunately, it can at times also be used by criminals in the production of meth. Government at all levels – federal, state, and local – have tried to reduce meth use and production by restricting access to PSE. State and federal law require these medicines be placed behind the pharmacy counter, and patients are limited to how much they may buy per day and per month. Some localities in Missouri have gone to greater extremes including requiring an individual to go to the doctor and get a prescription to purchase PSE containing medications like Zyrtec-D, Allegra-D, and Claritin-D.

These kinds of laws have a negative impact on law abiding Missouri families, and do little to attack the meth trade and its associated problems. According to a new study by Alex Brill of Matrix Global Advisors, “[PSE-containing] medicines are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for purchase and use without a doctor’s intervention. Prescription-only laws would make it more difficult for these people to access the medicines they need.”

In other words, the federal government already regulates the sale of PSE-containing medicines and has for nearly 40 years approved them for over-the counter purchase. In addition, laws requiring a prescription would create $130 million in new doctors’ visits costs, $42.7 million of which would be passed on to consumers, according to Brill.

Research upon research has revealed that prescription only policy for PSE is ineffective in dealing with the meth problem. Brill’s study shows that Missouri’s meth problem is an issue of demand for the illegal drug, not supply of PSE medicines. While much attention is given to the domestic production of meth, the reality is that the vast majority of meth on the streets of Missouri today is supplied almost exclusively by Mexican cartels.

Read more here.