SACRAMENTO, Calif. The California Senate on Tuesday voted 22-10 in favor of a bill that would reclassify pseudoephedrine, already sold behind-the-counter at pharmacy, as a prescription-only drug in an effort to further thwart the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine.
The bill, S.B. 484, will now be considered by the California Assembly.
In favor of the bill were many of the state’s law enforcement associations and organizations; opposed to the bill were the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and several retail pharmacies like Rite Aid.
“While CHPA strongly supports efforts to address the methamphetamine problem in this country, we believe that today’s vote by the California Senate serves as a well-intentioned but misguided approach,” CHPA released in a statement following the ruling. “This initiative will have little effect on the trafficking of methamphetamine in California but will force consumers suffering nasal congestion or allergies to spend time in their doctors’ offices and waiting rooms so a cursory examination can be administered and a prescription obtained.”
CHPA suggested there are other methods that will help stem methamphetamine production in the state that do no limit consumer access to OTC PSE, such as an electronic sales tracking system that could help prevent a practice known as “smurfing” — where people circumvent the maximum amount of PSE that can be sold legally by purchasing those products across several adjacent pharmacies.