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Some hope to restore Rx requirement in meth bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Backers of a bill mandating a prescription for the purchase of most medications containing pseudoephedrine were working to reinstate that requirement Wednesday after a legislative committee removed the provision the day before.

Del. Don Perdue, D-Wayne, and others on Wednesday had pending floor amendments after the House Judiciary Committee had stripped Senate Bill 6, also known as the Methamphetamine Laboratory Eradication Act, of the prescription requirement before moving the bill out of committee late Tuesday night. Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in the making of meth.

The controversial bill passed the Senate, 25-9, on Feb. 18.

Perdue, a retired pharmacist, has said that it is his belief that the majority of medicines containing pseudoephedrine are being sold to people who are converting it to meth, and that pharmaceutical companies continue to push products that they know are being used to make a dangerous, harmful, illicit drug.

Senate Bill 6 will go in front of the full House of Delegates for first reading Thursday, March 6.

The heart of the debate revolves around whether requiring a prescription for current over-the-counter cold and flu medications that contain pseudoephederine, ephederine or phenylpropanolamine — all ingredients used in making meth — would slow the rising meth problem in West Virginia, or if it simply punishes law-abiding citizens by requiring them to see a doctor to get those medications.

Del. Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, a member of the Judiciary Committee, has long been opposed to requiring a prescription for what are now over-the-counter medications.

The amended bill only requires a prescription if the person purchasing the medication has a prior criminal record.

“It got rid of the prescription requirement for everyone, which alleviated my concern of law-abiding people having to pay for a doctor’s visit,” Sobonya said…

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