Treating colds may become more difficult

July 7, 2010
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There’s been a lot of talk recently about cracking down on the sale of over-the-counter medicine that has ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in it. Indiana legislators will study the issue this summer and decide whether to pursue requiring a prescription for these drugs.

In the last few years, these OTC drugs have been moved behind the pharmacy window and require you to show a valid ID and sign your name. It’s a minor inconvenience as compared to having to go to the doctor to get a prescription for a certain kind of Sudafed. A new law also requires pharmacies to post signs saying that if you buy more than 3.6 grams of it in one day, you are committing a crime.

If I have a cold, and I know a certain type of OTC drug which happens to have ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in it works to make me feel better, I’m going to want to take it. Colds are annoying and usually don’t require making a trip to the doctor. In fact, I’m sure most doctors aren’t going to want to see an increase in patients who just have colds.

But if this proposal becomes law, you’ll have to contact your doctor. Maybe they will just write a prescription without seeing you or call it in to the pharmacy, but I know many doctors like to see their patients before writing prescriptions. This law may lead to increased costs because you may have a co-pay or office visit fee. You’ll have to wait until the pharmacy can fill the prescription. Colds may get even more annoying and costly.

Supporters argue that making OTC medicine with these drugs in them more difficult to obtain will help fight against methamphetamine production. It’s possible, but it’s also possible and very likely that those who want to make meth will find other ways to get the drugs. Pain killers require a prescription, but people still find ways to abuse them. Some people also rob pharmacies to get those drugs. Who’s to say that won’t be the case with ephedrine and pseudoephdrine? Perhaps meth makers will find alternative ingredients to use to make the drug.

What do you think? Does this proposal go too far in trying to fight meth or is it about time our state cracked down even harder on the drug?

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  • From the same people ...?
    Did this come from the same people who gave us the brilliant idea of "carding" octgenerians purchasing a 375 ml of sherry? They are also probably the same people who rail against health care reform because it's too costly and involves governmental intervention in health care decisions. Enough already! The General Assembly faces the toughest budget session in memory, and we waste money on this nonsense.
  • An Unnecessary Burden on Law Abiding Citizens
    This proposed law would have too much of an impact on the daily lives of citizens. If passed, anyone who gets a common cold will have to spend time making a doctors appointment, time going to the doctor, spend money for a doctor's appointment, spend time going to the pharmacy, spend extra money on current OTC medications. This places an incredible burden on families, businesses and schools. The amount of lost productive time is immeasurable. The increased out-of-pockiet costs to individuals and families could be in the hundreds to the thousands per year.

    Once again, the Indiana State Legislature is turning a blind eye to the needs of law abiding citizens. This law would treat us like we are the criminals, while the criminals will certainly find ways to continue to engage in their illegal activities.

    The legislature needs to make sure this proposed law does not reach the House or Senate floor for a vote.

    This imposition on the daily lives of citizens will be ridiculous. The legislature should not put another burdensome and bureaucratic practice in place on the backs of state citizens. This is a solution in search of a problem. Put the focus on improvement of law enforcement, rather than force citizens to lose time and money on a a useless exercise.
  • Who are you kidding
    It sounds to me that the legislature wants to put enforcing illegal drug activity enforcement on the backs of drug stores and doctors and out of the hands of the police who seem to be incompetent to do so. Still no excuse to make this a prescription drug. I suspect that the AMA is behind this to get an office call charge from the patient. I know doctors who charge an office call fee for just calling in a script.
  • Dumb laws
    Another salvo fired in the totally ineffective war on drugs which is truly effective only as a war on the rest of us.

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