Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed a law that will require prescriptions for decongestants containing an ingredient often diverted into the illegal meth trade. The big question now, says The Oregonian, is how quickly state regulators will implement the new restrictions — which will be the toughest in the nation — on medications containing pseudoephedrine. The law says the prescription requirements must be in place no later than next July 1; officials may be able to implement them months before that.
In most cases, Kulongoski said consumers can turn to alternative products, particularly those containing a different decongestant, phenylephrine. Sudafed is available in a version using phenylephrine, marketed as Sudafed PE. The new law requires products with pseudoephedrine to be treated as a Schedule III drug. Ddoctors can prescribe the product over the phone and consumers could get up to five refills in a six-month period. That is an “extreme” measure that could drive up health-care costs, said Virginia Cox of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents manufacturers of over-the-counter drugs. She said it poses a particular hardship to consumers who don’t have health insurance.