GOP Senators' Bill Proposes Pharmacist Consultation Before Pseudoephedrine Sales

Dec 14, 2015

Sudafed is one medicine that contains pseudoephedrine.
Credit Kesha Phillips /

Republican State Senators say legislation they’re proposing to put certain cold medicines behind the counter is a balanced solution to help solve Indiana’s meth production problem. 

The bill is an alternative to legislation that would make pseudoephedrine available only through a prescription.

Legislation to make the key meth ingredient pseudoephedrine available only by prescription is endorsed by both the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Association and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis). 

But Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) says that’s a drastic step that unfairly punishes people who just want access to cold medicine.  Instead, Head wants to put pseudoephedrine products behind the counter and require pharmacists to question customers before selling them the drugs. 

The Republican lawmaker says his bill is based on a pilot program developed in the Rochester, Indiana community.  Pharmacies there – including Walmart and Kroger – put pseudoephedrine behind the counter about six months ago.

“And they have seen a drastic reduction in the sales of Sudafed since it started this summer; in fact, sales have dropped 50-percent,” Head says.

Head says Rochester’s program also created an increase in the sale of alternative cold medicines Nexafed and Zyphrex D.

“You cannot make methamphetamine the traditional way with these two medicines but they will treat your cold just as effectively as Sudafed does,” Head says.

Head says he will support making pseudoephedrine prescription-only if his bill doesn’t get strong enough backing.  His co-author, Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), will not support a prescription-only bill.