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GOP Senators' Bill Proposes Pharmacist Consultation Before Pseudoephedrine Sales

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.  

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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