The question of whether or not small mom-and-pop stores need to sell pseudoephedrine to survive is at the heart of the ongoing debate in Congress over how to regulate sales of cold medicine, says The Oregonian. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee approved a measure that would allow convenience stores and other retailers to keep selling pseudoephedrine products, as long as they kept a customer log and stored the products behind the counter. Critics say the billis weaker than a Senate plan that would have banned the sale of such cold medicines by anyone but a pharmacy, unless the retailer obtained a special DEA license.
Rep. Steve King (R-Ia.), suggested that without that restriction, the law would allow a loophole large enough to keep local meth cooks in business. Lyle Beckwith of the National Association of Convenience Stores said restricting cold medicine sales to pharmacies would unfairly favor drugstores over convenience stores. The bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Mark Souder, (R-In.) says some small-town grocers would go out of business after losing pseudoephedrine sales to big-box chain retailers. A Drug Enforcement Administration expert witness, Jonathan Robbin, disagrees: “If you cut it off somewhere and say it can only be sold through specific people who have pharmacies, I think that is a solution. Trying to say, ‘It’s behind the counter and you can’t have it unless you give a name and address’ is not a solution, because anybody can go in there and give a name and address.”