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California Senate weighs Rx PSE

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

The California Senate's Appropriations Committee May 28 approves a bill making it illegal in the state to buy ephedrine- or pseudophedrine-containing products without a prescription. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association initiated an Internet campaign against the bill's passage, warning California consumers they could lose OTC access to antihistamine and decongestant products such as Zyrtec-D, Sudafed and Claritin-D. The trade group notes the state would incur costs from increased health insurance premiums for state employees and could lose $4.5 million in sales tax revenue if ephedrine and PSE products become Rx-only. CHPA argues that existing federal law and electronic logbooks to monitor purchases of methamphetamine precursors have helped decrease the number of illicit meth labs. Oregon so far is the only state to enact a prescription-only law for all PSE drugs (1"The Tan Sheet" Feb. 23, 2009, p. 3)

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A law requiring sales of OTC drugs containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine to be done by licensed pharmacists takes effect Aug. 15. Louisiana lawmakers this year enacted the law, which requires retailers to conduct electronic logging of transactions, to curb illicit methamphetamine production by controlling access to precursors. Oregon already has moved PSE- and ephedrine-containing products to Rx-status and legislation is pending in California to make the products prescription only (1"The Tan Sheet" June 8, 2009, In Brief)

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