Hey, why stop at requiring a prescription to buy Sudafed and other cold and allergy medications that dopers can use to make methamphetamine?
Just get it over with and pass an outright ban on remedies that can feel like lifesavers to anyone with a stuffed-up head. It’s a drug war, right? And wars require sacrifice.
Honk wonk! Sarcasm alert! I happen to be with Big Pharma on this one. Consumers ought not suffer because drug addicts misuse a lawful product.
But the push for an all-out ban is not some drug-addled fantasy. Mexico imposed one. And the Minnesota House passed legislation in 2005 outlawing the sale of pseudoephedrine statewide. Calmer heads in the state Senate later scuttled it.
It keeps escalating. First, Sudafed-like cold remedies were taken off store shelves and put behind the counter. Then most states limited quantities you could buy at one time.
Hard-copy tracking systems were required to monitor who bought what and when, supposedly to limit abuses. None of that worked. The meth epidemic continues to ruin lives.
Thus the sudden push in Missouri to require a doctor’s prescription.
It shows political tone-deafness on the part of the proponents of the proposal — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster.
Nobody wants to pay for a doctor’s visit just to get pills to clear stuffed-up sinuses. You wonder if Nixon and Koster have forgotten that those people vote.
If only for political cover, why not wait and see if a newly installed electronic tracking system can put a dent in meth production by monitoring pseudoephedrine purchases in real time?
Nixon and Koster say those systems don’t work. Whereas going the prescription route coincided with fewer meth busts in Oregon and Mississippi.
OK, but won’t that merely send meth makers across a state’s border? Yes, and that explains why drug company lobbyists were making lots of calls this week as the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy discussed whether to ramp up that state’s electronic tracking system.
Thankfully, instead of hopping on the Nixon-Koster prescription bandwagon, the board chose Thursday to give the new tracking system a chance.
Kansas doesn’t have the meth problem that Missouri has. But the board had other concerns, executive director Debra Billingsley told me. “They don’t want to punish citizens.”
Isn’t that how it always is? The majority suffers for the sins of the few.
But if there’s a bright note for Missourians who would hate having to ask a doctor’s permission to buy a frickin’ cold pill, it’s this: Republicans control the legislature. And last I checked, Nixon and Koster were Dems.