WASHINGTON, The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) today released the following statement after the West Virginia State Senate passed Senate Bill 6—legislation that would require all citizens to obtain a doctor’s prescription before buying safe and effective cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE)–medicines like Advil Cold & Sinus, Claritin-D, Mucinex D and Sudafed. The bill now heads to the House of Delegates for consideration.
“It is very disheartening that certain members of the West Virginia legislature are determined to impose higher healthcare costs and onerous burdens on responsible taxpayers in the face of overwhelming evidence that such an approach would fail to address the root causes of the methamphetamine problem,” said Carlos Gutierrez, senior director and head of state government affairs for CHPA. “Under a prescription requirement, thousands of West Virginians will have to take time off from work or school, drive to the doctor and pay additional copays at the pharmacy—just to get the nonprescription medicines they rely on to treat common cold and seasonal allergy symptoms. It would be one thing if the costs of these considerable burdens led to significant gains against meth cooks and dealers, but any honest examination of other states that have passed such a policy reveals that meth-related crime remains a vexing problems for law enforcement officials in those states. We would also urge members of the House of Delegates to consider the fact that West Virginia’s greatest drug threat involves narcotics that already require a prescription.”
A critical part of the legislation is a prescription exemption for certain PSE-based products that purportedly cannot be converted into methamphetamine. While the introduction of such products into the market would be a significant and positive development, it is important for the public to understand that such products do not currently exist. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has not approved any application for tamper-proof technology. Further, in publicly commenting on one recent application, the DEA stated that “significant” amounts of methamphetamine could be made with common meth cooking methods.
“Given the level of uncertainty surrounding so-called tamper-proof products, we believe it would be irresponsible for West Virginia lawmakers to pass legislation that would raise medical costs for thousands of consumers on the back of such an unknown,” Gutierrez continued. “It’s one thing for lawmakers to tell the public which medicines it can and cannot buy, it’s quite another for them to tell the public it can only buy one, unproven product. West Virginia deserves anti-meth policies that target criminals, not law-abiding citizens.”
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 133-year-old trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to promoting the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in America’s healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy.