Pseudoephedrine Rx bill victimizes allergy sufferers

An editorial from The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The idea of regulating over-the-counter pseudoephedrine to prescription only is nothing to sneeze at.

That’s about the only thing both sides agree on in the debate in the Legislature to do just that.

For the record, we oppose Senate Bill 6 and House Bill 4212, both of which would make medications containing pseudoephedrine available only by prescription.

Sometimes, the Legislature worries us.

But recently we have almost started to become allergic to its bills.

First there was the rash that appeared after the House approved a law that allows guns into the Capitol Complex.

Then our eyes started watering after learning legislative committees were wasting hours on a cupcake bill and an apple core amendment. Oh, and by the way the water flowing by the Capitol in the Kanawha River and the nearby Elk River is still in peril.

And if you haven’t noticed our state’s roadways are still a nightmare.

But never mind that, restricting common cold and allergy medicine to prescription only is the priority.

State police did report, methamphetamine lab seizures in West Virginia jumped by 85 percent in 2013 — from 288 in 2012 to 533 in 2013.

But at the very same time didn’t NPLEx — the industry-funded, real-time tracking system used by pharmacies — block the sale of nearly 17,000 illegal sales of peudoephedrine products in West Virginia in 2013.

Certainly, many of those 533 busted labs were a direct result of the red flags NPLEx threw up.

Furthermore, didn’t just seven of the state’s counties account for 60 percent of these illegal labs, most of those located in the Charleston-to-Huntington corridor.

Last time we read, prescription drugs were being abused at a greater rate than all illegal drugs combined.

And with all due respect, in light of that how can we ask the medical community to police pseudoephedrine sales?

There’s also the attendant cost of making an OTC medicine a prescription and requiring an appointment to see a doctor for such a prescription, not to mention the inconvenience.

Why not ban sales of medicines containing pseudoephedrine to anyone with a felony drug conviction?

Give NPLEx time, too. One year into this tracking system is no testament to its effectiveness.

Equally abhorrent, this bill allows for charging visitors to the Mountain State with a misdemeanor and a court date if they are discovered in possession of Sudafed-like drugs.

We urge the House to reject SB 6 and its own version of this measure.

Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug.

And people who make it are criminals.

But these bills will only make people who chronically suffer from allergies the victims.

Click here for The Dominion Post e-edition.

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