Would Federal Anti-Meth Bill Weaken State Curbs?


An federal anti-meth bill has run into opposition from some senators who say it gives too much leeway to retailers and could weaken state efforts to restrict the sale of over-the-counter cold medications, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The measure would impose new restrictions on the sale of cold remedies with pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamine. Several lawmakers said the bill would preclude states from enforcing even tighter limits on purchases of Sudafed and other medications containing pseudoephedrine. “I’m worried we’re more interested in the retail pharmacies than we are in meth,” said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.)

At issue is the bill’s proposal to take products containing pseudoephedrine off store shelves and put them behind a pharmacy counter. Consumers would have to sign a log and show an ID. Sales

information would be put into a database to help police track large purchases. In what Feinstein has referred to as the “Safeway exception,” the proposal includes a provision that would let states set up a nonpharmacy selling option for retail outlets without an on-site druggist. States would create special licensing systems for nonpharmacists to sell pseudoephedrine products. The Drug Enforcement Administration would have to approve each state’s system. That helped win over major retailers, such as Safeway and Wal-Mart. Lobbyist Kevin Nicholson of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said 34 states and some counties and cities have laws regulating the sale of cold remedies. He said that patchwork makes it “confusing and difficult (for stores) to make sure they’re complying with all the requirements out there.”

Link: http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/nation/story/7B1EBE64CC754B81862570460017B879?OpenDoc

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