Lawmakers said they would compromise on the idea of making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription, and they have. Senate Bill 3 would only require a prescription for medicines containing the drug after a patient has bought 3.6 grams of it per month and a maximum of 15 grams per year. Gelcaps and liquid forms of the drug would still be excluded. (Associated Press photo by John Flavell of recovering addict Melanda Adams and Senate Majority Floor Leader Robert Stivers, who introduced the bill)
Now, people are limited to buying 9 grams per month and 120 grams per year of cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, which is the key ingredient to make meth. The bill would also prevent anyone who has been convicted of a meth-related crime from buying the drug without a prescription for five years.
Last week, Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, withdrew a bill that would have required a prescription for any purchases of the drug. Stivers introduced this new bill yesterday and told The Courier-Journal it gives people who use the medicines "adequate opportunity without incurring medical expenses or the cost of a prescription to access these on a monthly basis and an annual basis."
Opponents to the bill still feel it is too restrictive, with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association continuing "to oppose burdensome restrictions to over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines that thousands of law-abiding Kentuckians rely upon for relief," Elizabeth Funderburk, senior director of communications for the group that represents makers of over-the-counter medicine and dietary supplements, told the Louisville newspaper.
Opponent Pat Davis, mother of six and wife of 4th District U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, railed against the new proposal. "I'm not sure why they're calling it a compromise bill because I'm not sure who they compromised with," she said. She pointed out if four members of her family were to get sick with a cold, and took Sudafed to treat it for seven days, that would amount to 13.44 grams of the medicine — nearly the annual limit. "Really what this bill is is the same bill," she said. "They're throwing out a few crumbs, which they're calling 15 grams."
Jackie Steele, commonwealth's attorney for Laurel and Knox counties, told the paper that the lower limits could lead to a reduction in meth labs, but not for long. "I hope this cures it," he said of the meth-lab problem. "I don't think it will."
In London, whose Walgreens has the highest sales of pseudoephedrine in the state, Police Chief Stewart Walker agreed with Steele. "The bad guy is always going to figure a way around this," he said. "(With the compromise) you probably leave the door partly open and there's so much more room for added work."