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Kentucky expands access to OTC cough, cold medications containing PSE

House Bill 386 will remove Kentucky’s annual purchase limit on PSE-containing medications.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association released the following statement regarding the adoption of Kentucky House Bill 386 into law, legislation that will eliminate the state’s annual purchase limit for common over-the-counter cold and allergy medications containing the ingredient pseudoephedrine, which is currently the most restrictive yearly limit nationwide at 24 g, or roughly a three-month supply.

“With Kentucky having one of the most restrictive PSE access laws nationwide, the legislature’s action is certainly welcome news for allergy sufferers across the state who will now be able to obtain these congestion relief medications year-round instead of just three months out of the year,” said Carlos Gutierrez, vice president of state and local government affairs. “CHPA applauds the joint commitment made by Kentucky’s lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and pharmacists to stop the illegal diversion of PSE, and commends Representative Duvall, and the entire Kentucky legislature for working together to ensure law-abiding citizens have better access to the consumer healthcare products they need.”

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“Under current law, consumers in Kentucky have access to just over three months’ supply of medications containing PSE annually,” said Kentucky State Rep. Robert Duvall, “which severely limits consumers’ ability to self-treat their cold and allergy symptoms. This legislation is a pro-consumer, reasonable solution that simply increases access to affordable healthcare and gives allergy sufferers across our state increased flexibility to care for their symptoms year-round.”

House Bill 386 was introduced in the Kentucky House by Representative Robert Duvall (R-Bowling Green) on Jan. 25. This legislation will remove Kentucky’s annual purchase limit on PSE-containing medications. 

Thirty-eight states across the nation, including Kentucky, currently mandate the use of the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) system, which is a real-time, stop-sale technology used by retailers and law enforcement to prevent the illegal sale of PSE to criminals who try to use it in the production of methamphetamine. In 2023, the NPLEx system successfully blocked the illegal sale of nearly 2 million boxes of medicines containing PSE, preventing more than 5 million grams of PSE from getting into the hands of potential criminals. CHPA has been instrumental in advocating for the extension of the NPLEx system in multiple states and takes the diversion of its members' medicines very seriously. 

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CHPA said it will continue working with elected officials to ensure states have the necessary tools to combat illegal sales of PSE, while also ensuring law-abiding citizens who depend on these medicines have continued access. 

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